design for a sustainable future
Four simple food shopping tips
Sustainable food shopping can be a complex affair. Here are four very simple tips how to go about it:
Little meat: Livestock and growing the animal feed require a lot of energy and have a very negative impact on the life cycle assessment (LCA) of your food. Locally grown beans - for example - are a very environmentally friendly source of protein. Cheese gets a better LCA than meat, but still has a big impact. Same with fish - less is better for the environment unless the fish is from your local lake or pond.
Seasonal products from local (organic) production: Apples are a good example in this case. If you buy a locally grown apple in the middle of the summer, it will not be very sustainable because it will have been in cold storage since last autumn. It therefore is better to buy local summer fruit. If you want to shop environmentally friendly, combine seasonally and locally grown. Whether you buy conventionally grown or organic produce, it is always better to buy free range products and products which were grown outdoors. Due to the heating requirements, greenhouse products suck up a lot of energy.
No air freighted produce: Transport by train, truck and ship has less impact than importing produce by plane (assuming we are in central or northern Europe). Tropical fruit normally come by air freight, whilst apples from New Zealand are transported by ship.
No waste: About one third of the food we buy is thrown out, 11 million tons in Germany alone every year. If you want to be green - and save money - avoid waste - waste of food and also waste of energy when you cook. If you treat food as a valuable resource, everybody will benefit.