Why the food industry should address the issue of sustainable recipes – and how it can benefit from them
THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS REAL – THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW
Since the 1970s, industry, led by oil and energy companies, has known about the dangers of global warming and the harmfulness of high CO2 emissions. And yet, for more than 50 years, there was silence. Now that the effects are visible and noticable, we must try to fight global warming at all levels.
Among the climate gases that drive global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be limited as one of the main drivers. A first look at the drivers of CO2 emissions leads to the assumption that we – as consumers – have no significant influence and only industry, as well as car and home owners have leverage.
THE IMPACT OF OUR DIET ON THE ENVIRONMENT
But this is not true. Global food production, for example, accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions (including energy, processing, transportation, buildings). If we also look more closely at the numbers, it becomes clear that our food choices and our diets can have a big impact on the environment, especially on our individual CO2 footprint. With our choices, we can control an entire industry.
FREE WHITEPAPER WITH CLIMATE TIPS
We’ve analyzed the main drivers in our free white paper, “The influence of nutrition on the climate,” and give consumers simple advice on how to make a huge impact by making only a small contribution.
HOW CAN PLAYERS IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – AND EVEN BENEFIT FROM IT?
In a world where sustainability and environmental awareness are becoming increasingly important in politics and everyday life, it is time that the food industry also addresses the issue of sustainability and CO2. This includes in particular food manufacturers, retail & supermarkets, the hotel & catering industry, chefs, fitness and nutrition consultants, media & platforms as well as kitchen equipment manufacturers who have direct access to consumers.
These “food influencers” play a crucial role in spreading recipes and inspiration to millions of people worldwide. By embracing sustainability, they can use their reach to make a positive impact on their users’ eating habits, sustainable cooking, and carbon footprint.
More and more people are becoming aware of the urgent need to make sustainable choices in order to protect our planet. This is not only about protecting the environment, but also about our own health and the well-being of future generations.
For example, 37 percent of European consumers place a high value on sustainability – a concern that cuts across all generations. A new study by McKinsey found that many consumers are already paying more for sustainable products, especially those they believe are not only good for the planet but also good for themselves.
THE RECIPE AS A MULTIPLIER FOR SUSTAINABLE NUTRITION
The following approach significantly helps not only for a cleaner environment and healthier nutrition, but also offers many opportunities in the competition for new customers and economic advantages:
1. Creating awareness: The food industry has a tremendous reach and can reach a wide variety of people. By promoting the issue of sustainability and CO2 footprint, they can create awareness about the impact our food has on the environment. It can encourage users to make more conscious choices and explore sustainable alternatives. This can be done much better via recipes than generic information.
2. Information transfer: Platforms and recipe portals can serve as a valuable source of information to provide users with knowledge about sustainable nutrition. They can provide sustainable recipes with related articles, blogposts or infographics that explain how certain food productions affect the CO2 footprint and what sustainable alternatives are available. By sharing knowledge, platforms can empower their users to make informed decisions. Restaurants and hotels can also raise customer awareness by providing CO2 information about their food.
3. Sustainable recipe development: The restaurant industry, media and food manufacturers can place an emphasis on developing sustainable recipes. They can help users use more eco-friendly ingredients, incorporate seasonal and local products in their dishes, and reduce meat consumption. By providing recipes that minimize CO2 emissions, they can encourage users to develop sustainable cooking habits.
4. Partnerships with sustainable suppliers: Processors and retailers can partner with sustainable suppliers to help their users access environmentally friendly products. By connecting with local farms, organic suppliers, or sustainable food brands, they can recommend high-quality, sustainable ingredients to their users.
5. Community and sharing: Media and all food platforms can create a community where users can share their experiences with sustainable food and learn from each other. Building a forum where users can share recipe ideas, tips on how to reduce waste, and how to reduce their CO2 footprint creates a place of engagement and shared learning.
COOKBUTLER SUPPORTS YOU IN THIS PROCESS
Cookbutler is a food agency and recipe specialist. We have always enriched recipes with supplementary data such as important nutritional information (e.g. nutritional values, vitamins, allergies, etc.) and offer these for use within a “recipes as a service” licensing model. However, we also offer this service for “third-party” recipes and supplement your recipes with additional data.
So, in addition to nutritional criteria, we will expand our expertise with sustainability criteria. Not only will our current 45,000 recipes get a CO2 foodprint, we can also enrich your recipes with these values.
The CO2 food footprint is measured in kg CO2e, i.e. the CO2 equivalent. A value of 33 kg CO2e means that the production of 1kg of a food product along the value chain from the producer, through the recycler, transport and trade has resulted in a total of 33kg of CO2 (example beef). We reduce all ingredients of a recipe to one serving and indicate the value of the serving. Low impact meals are those with a value between 0.1 and 0.5kg CO2e/kg. Sustainable recipes get a green Cookbutler label.
This threshold was set by WWF in line with IPCC reports (IPCC, 2018). To eat in line with the Paris Agreement and keep the temperature increase below 1.5°C by 2050 compared to pre-industrial levels, we are allocated a daily carbon budget of 1.62 kg CO2e, with one meal accounting for 30% of this budget (WWF One Planet Plate, 2019).
TOGETHER FOR A CLEAN FUTURE AND A HEALTHY DIET
You, as a food industry player, have a unique opportunity to promote awareness of sustainability and the CO2 footprint of meals.
By addressing the issue and promoting sustainable practices, products, and sustainable recipes, you can encourage your users to make more conscious choices and have a positive impact on the environment.
By establishing yourself as a source of information, a partner for sustainable suppliers and platforms for exchange, you can make an important contribution to a more sustainable future and position yourself as a sustainability innovator.
It’s time for all of us to use our reach and influence to make the world of cooking more sustainable. Talk to us about how we can do it together.