Good food brings joy and well-being – but is the joy shadowed by concern over how food production affects the climate? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Food production is known to be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. But the good news is that with smart everyday choices we can all help cut down the climate impact of food. And more good news: climate-friendly food is also good for your well-being.

Food is an absolute necessity to health and well-being. Good food brings people together and creates moments of joy to people’s lives. But food production is also known to have various negative effects on the environment and the climate, in different stages of food production.

We at Fazer see food as a solution. We also feel a great sense of responsibility on the impacts of our activities on the planet and the people around us. We want create moments of joy that make each day a little better. My making climate-friendly choices – both in business and in our everyday lives - we can all help prevent climate change. Step by step, one meaningful moment at a time.

What is climate-friendly food?

Climate-friendly food doesn’t require magical tricks – it is the sum of many simple but significant choices.

According to research, products of animal origin – such as meat and dairy products – pose a particular challenge to the climate. The making of products of animal origin require animals – and animals need food. This is why the environmental effects of products of animal origin are many times bigger than those of plant-based products.

An average western diet is still far from researchers’ recommendations: we should eat twice as much vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes as we do now, and cut down on meat and sugar by more than half.

You don’t need to give up meat completely, though, and a climate-friendly diet can include a reasonable amount of animal proteins: It’s fine to eat red meat once a week, and feel free to have a glass of milk or a few slices of cheese once a day. Eating chicken up to twice a week is ok, too, as is eating eggs - but with some moderation.

Food tips for climate friends

1. Go for greens

Pick plenty of greens into your shopping basket. And when possible, choose fruits, legumes and vegetables that are in season.

And by choosing local products you can help reduce the emissions caused by transportation – packaging and transportation add up to about ten percent of food’s impact on the environment.

2. Avoid wasting food

Every mouthful rescued from food waste is a small climate action. The production, transportation and storage of food have an impact on the environment, and if the food ends up wasted, it was all in vain. Dumped food also causes methane emissions, which accelerate climate change.

So when shopping for food, keep your eyes open for products that are in threat of becoming food waste – brown bananas, misshapen tomatoes, or products approaching their best before dates. And before starting to cook, take a peek inside your fridge and make use of your edible leftovers – and use your imagination to create tasty climate-food.

3. Choose sustainable

Most of the environmental impact of food comes from primary production – from growing plants and animals. It is worth paying attention to the origin and production of methods of particularly meat, fish and dairy products.

When shopping for red meat, try to choose environmentally better options. Beef production, for example, is challenging to the climate, because the methane produced in the digestive system of cows is a strong greenhouse gas.

And at the fish counter, choose sustainably farmed fish or wild-caught fish, which is not threatened by overfishing. Many species of fish from our Nordic seas and lakes are environmentally excellent choices – for instance Baltic herring, perch, vendace, roach and pike.

Source: Eat-Lancet Commission: Healty Diets from Sustainable Food Systems. Food, Planet, Health.