Cultural anchoring, education and environmental protection: how our eating habits affect the environment
Our eating habits are the holy grail in the transformation of the food system towards sustainable production and consumption patterns. One of the big questions for the future is therefore how we can positively change individual behaviour. And preferably without “paternalism” – because that is not welcome in this country.
However, it’s not that easy. In this article, we would like to explore the effects of our diet, why it is so difficult to change our behaviour and how we can still make the transition to a more sustainable food system.
The environmental impact of our eating habits
The way we eat has a far-reaching impact on our environment. From the production of food to its processing and consumption, we influence the consumption of resources, emissions and land use. A study by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) illustrates these relationships using the example of land use.
The study shows that a vegetarian diet could reduce land consumption by 46 percent. A vegan diet could reduce land consumption by almost 50 percent. Even a flexitarian diet, which reduces the consumption of animal products, could still contribute just under 18 percent to land savings.
These figures illustrate how our specific dietary choices have a direct impact on land use and how they are important in the context of land consumption and biodiversity. The figures are clear and many Swiss people consider it important to reduce their meat consumption. Nevertheless, many find it extremely difficult to give up beloved habits.
One reason for this is that eating habits are closely linked to cultural aspects. They are the result of intergenerational processes and symbolize identity, traditions in families and regions and establish connections between people. Changing eating habits therefore requires not only education and the transmission of information, but also recognition of this cultural dimension. There are studies that show that dietary behavior can be traced back over many generations. This makes it clear how deeply rooted nutrition is in our culture and how difficult it can be to break these long-standing patterns (more on this in an upcoming article).
Education as the key to raising awareness
Education plays a crucial role in transforming these culturally shaped behaviors. This is because it emphasizes the ecological impact of our eating habits from an early age. Switzerland has therefore committed itself to promoting education for sustainability and is anchoring the topic in education and training. After all, comprehensive knowledge and careful handling of food are hugely important for raising awareness. However, these are long-term plans, as short-term results cannot be achieved.
Promotion of sustainable eating habits and measures
Switzerland is therefore taking further measures to promote sustainable eating habits. One goal, for example, is to halve food waste per capita by 2030. This not only affects consumers, but also retailers and the catering industry. The federal government sees two main levels of action: Reducing food waste and promoting resource-conserving consumption patterns.
Companies can also do something to accelerate change in the retail and catering sectors. This is because targeted training and further education programs provide employees with concrete guidance on how to implement structural changes within their own day-to-day work. Companies that make such measures a requirement are therefore actively contributing to sustainable change 🌿🌎
The genetics of nutrition: a look at the hereditary influences on our eating behaviour
By Foodways Nutrition plays an enormous role in our health and general well-being. Sustainable nutrition also conserves resources and thus contributes to environmental protection. But how does our genetic predisposition actually influence our eating habits? And why do many people find it so difficult to change their eating habits in favor of a more sustainable […]09.01.2024
What is the positive global impact of reducing food waste?
By Foodways Food waste has a huge impact on the environment, global food security and the economy. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximately 1.3 billion tons of edible food is discarded each year on its way from field to plate. This unnecessary waste of resources has a direct […]28.09.2023
Food Policies: How the cantons of Lucerne and Zurich ensure sustainable nutrition
By Foodways Food plays a crucial role in the environment and climate. What we eat, how we produce it and how much we waste has a significant impact on our planet. That’s why it’s important to advocate for a sustainable diet that is both healthy and environmentally friendly. But how can we achieve this? And […]12.09.2023
More sustainability through transparency in the supply chain. An example from the dairy industry shows how it can succeed
By Foodways Do we know where our food comes from? In our globalized world, we often have little or no knowledge about where food actually comes from and under what conditions it is produced. But it is now becoming increasingly important to customers that companies in the food industry prove that their products are produced […]15.08.2023
Nudging: What is it, what nudges are available, and how can the gastronomy use them to help customers act more sustainably?
By Foodways The gastronomy has a major influence on people’s consumption behavior. It can influence the eating decisions of its clientele through its offering, presentation and communication. This gentle influence is called nudging. It can bring both environmental and economic benefits. After all, sustainable nutrition not only means less environmental impact, but also more health, […]01.08.2023
Environmental impact of nutrition: This is why an adapted menu has a direct impact on the climate
By Foodways The environmental impact of nutrition has increasingly come into focus in recent years. After all, the impact of our eating habits on the environment and climate is considerable. What concrete figures are available on the connection between food choices and environmental impact? And how can companies help consumers eat in a more environmentally […]04.07.2023
For more sustainability and lower costs: What measures can be taken to reduce food waste in gastronomy?
By Foodways A lot of food is still wasted in gastronomy. According to WWF Switzerland, restaurants are directly responsible for 12% of total food waste. Processing accounts for 30% and agriculture for 11% – areas that gastronomy can also influence through targeted purchasing and other measures. Appropriate measures that help reduce food waste from field […]13.06.2023