20 Jul 2017

5 COUNTRIES ARE CHANGING THE WORLD WITH FOOD CHOICES

The summer holidays have arrived, and now, 1 in every 2 travellers chooses their destination based on the food on offer. But which countries eat the best overall, not just in terms of taste? Ranging from France’s holistic approach to tackling food waste (only 2.31% of the food produced is lost in the supply chain), to young farmers in Brazil (1 in 3 is under 24) and sustainable farming in Italy (-34% equivalent CO2 emissions compared to traditional farming methods): the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation reveals the 5 countries which are already starting to change the world for the better (and where food lovers can choose to spend their holidays)



Summer is here, and it’s time for a well-deserved holiday. But what will be the most popular destination in 2017? Warm tropical beaches or fresh mountain air? Although tourists used to make their decisions based on the cost of living or the cultural and archaeological sites a country has to offer, in recent years – according to the international Food Travel Monitor by the WTFA  - 1 in every 2 tourists chooses where to go on holiday for food-related reasons. And this year, once again, it is the types of food and meals on offer in various destinations which help people to make up their minds. But which countries are able to offer “truly good” food when you head off on your holidays? And it is not just a question of how good a meal tastes, but also of the entire food system: from sustainable production and food waste to a balanced diet which respects nutritional requirements and protects the planet. After all, not everybody knows that what they put on their plate can have a significant impact on the environment. Just consider that a meal consisting of a fillet of beef, a mixed salad with oil dressing, a slice of bread and a piece of fruit consumes 3,244 litres of water and emits an equivalent of 4,187 grams of CO2. But our food choices also have an impact on our planet’s resources: around 4.4 billion hectares of land (40% of the Earth’s entire landmass) are used for agriculture and livestock, while 70% of the total supply of fresh water is used for irrigation (domestic use only accounts for 8%). With this in mind, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation used the Food Sustainability Index2 - developed in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit – to identify the 5 countries which are helping to bring about a positive change in food systems thanks to good food production practices. 


FRANCE LEADS THE WAY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE

Food waste has long been a blight on society and the environment which we all need to tackle. Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food (one third of the world’s food) is wasted before it even gets to the table, which is the equivalent of 4 times the quantity needed to feed the 800 million people around the world who do not have enough to eat. Moreover, the methane gas produced by the food which ends up in landfill is 21 times more damaging than CO2. Of all the countries analysed, France was the nation which has made the most progress in terms of combatting food waste (only 2.31% of food produced is lost along the supply chain), thanks to an innovative law passed in 2016 which made it compulsory to reuse leftover food which was still edible but had not been sold. This is a significant measure which affects every sector, from schools to large companies, and has led to agreements with non-profit organisations for the distribution of food and sanctions to prevent the voluntary destruction of food which is still edible. 


BRAZIL: YOUNG PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE (1 IN EVERY 3 FARMERS IS UNDER 24) 

For the FAO, young people are innovators, and this is certainly the case for agriculture – a sector which, in the coming years, will need to transform itself in order to respond to the planet’s demographic growth, while also striving to reduce its environmental impact. While in Europe only 6% of farmers are younger than 35, Brazil is demonstrating a completely different trend, where an impressive 1 in every 3 farmers is under 24. Along with the use of technology applied to smart irrigation systems and drones for monitoring land or automatically checking weather conditions, this ensures a better use of cultivable land and an optimisation of agricultural processes. Brazil is now a leading figure in its “young” approach to agriculture, mainly due to family-based agricultural production which is also able to guarantee an extremely rich environmental biodiversity. 


ITALY THE BEST IN EUROPE FOR REDUCING CO2 EMISSIONS FROM AGRICULTURE. -34% CO2 COMPARED TO TRADITIONAL FARMING METHODS

Scoring 95.96 out of 100, Italy comes in top spot among European countries for the lowest equivalent CO2 emissions from agriculture. This is an extremely encouraging result considering that global emissions from this sector have increased by 20% since 1990 (and doubled since 1960) and now represent 24% of the total amount of greenhouse gases. In a world where it is estimated that by 2050 agricultural production may increase by 70%, it is essential to work to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment. In this regard, Italy has already started to make progress. The use of renewable energy has led to a reduction of around 34% in CO2 emissions, a figure which is highly likely to grow further in the future. 


FIGHTING WASTE: IN AUSTRALIA, ONLY 0.66% OF FOOD PRODUCED IS THROWN AWAY

It was an ambitious objective: to make Australia a world leader in waste management by drastically reducing food waste throughout the entire supply chain by 2020. They achieved their goal by creating an efficient and economically-responsible waste management system which only “wastes” 0.66% of all food produced, while the remaining 99.34% is recycled and used in other sectors. Australia broadened the scope of activity beyond the supply chain itself to involve the end consumer as well. Indeed, on one hand, strategies were implemented to ensure that producers, distributors, processors and retailers work closely together in order to channel wasted food from landfill to more productive uses (such as composting or soil enrichment), and on the other hand, campaigns have been launched to raise awareness among consumers, even including the concept of environmental impact in the latest edition of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. 


ORGANIC FARMING: GERMANY HITS THE TARGET

Germany has designated 6.27% of its total agricultural land for organic farming. This is a high figure given that countries like the UK and France only set aside just over 3% of available land. But Germany has a much more ambitious target: to raise the figure to 20% in just a few years, given the constant increase in demand for this type of production. In general, this ambitious goal can be achieved through a low use of pesticides and fertilisers in their agricultural practices, but above all an excellent management of water resources. Indeed, Germany has adopted policies to reuse water and optimise irrigation systems, making it a leader in resource management. This is a strategic approach which should be applied on a large scale, especially given the fact that worldwide there are 1.4 billion km3 of water, but only 0.001% of that is actually available for human use

1  World Food Travel Association, non-profit NGO aiming to create economic development opportunities for the food, beverage, travel and hospitality industries, http://www.worldfoodtravel.org/cpages/home 

2  The FSI is an index which ranks the sustainability of agro-food systems in 25 countries around the world (members of the G20, which represent 85% of global GDP and two thirds of the world’s population, plus Nigeria, Ethiopia, Colombia, the UAE and Israel) in three broad research areas: sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food waste. 



PRESS OFFICE CONTACT INFORMATION

Luca Di Leo, Head of Media Relations, luca.dileo@barillacfn.com , +39 0521 2621

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BCFN PRESS OFFICE c/o INC ISTITUTO NAZIONALE PER LA COMUNICAZIONE

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Mariagrazia Martorana, Consultant Media Relations, m.martorana@inc-comunicazione.it, +39 333 5761268


The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN Foundation) is a think tank created in 2009 in order to analyse the key issues connected to food and nutrition around the world. By adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, economic, scientific, social and environmental factors are studied in terms of their effects on the food system. The President and Vice President of the BCFN Foundation are Guido and Paolo Barilla, while the board of directors is made up of, among others, Carlo Petrini, the President of Slow Food and Paolo De Castro, who chairs the committee on agriculture and rural development at the European Parliament. The Advisory Board oversees the work of the BCFN Foundation. For more information: www.barillacfn.com




 


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