New research from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) demonstrates that if we want a more sustainable food system, we need to change what we eat.
The results of the study, published in the report – People, Plate and Planet – show that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our food systems by over 40 per cent by changing what we eat in the UK.
Simply making the average diet in the UK more healthy by following nutritional guidelines would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 19 per cent.
Halving food waste reduces overall emissions by between 13 and 25 per cent.
Buying food produced only in Europe reduces emissions by 8 to 13 per cent.
Plastic bags make up less than half a percent of the overall food-related emissions.
Laura Blake, nutritionist, researcher and author of the report states: “It’s still a good idea to discourage plastic bag use, but that’s not where the most significant impact can be made. Even just moving to a more healthy diet – including not over consuming, which is currently contributing to huge health problems in the UK – reduces emissions, helping tackle climate change.
“The best way to eat sustainably is to completely avoid meat and dairy products, but eating more sustainably doesn’t have to mean going vegan. Choosing white meats over red meat can significantly reduce emissions. Overall, we show that there are many ways of eating more healthily that reduce emissions significantly.”
The report is partnered with Laura’s Larder – a new web-based tool that allows people to input all their dietary choices over a week and calculate both whether it is meeting their nutritional requirements and the environmental impact of it in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.