Our population is constantly growing, which means our demand for food increases regularly. But the way we produce, store, and sell our food contributes to a global problem. Did you know that one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from food and agriculture?  Meat factories, packaging, and transportation of food all make up a large quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere. 

To offset the negative effects of increased carbon dioxide and global warming, we need to have a sustainable food system. We need to start considering our depleting resources. Here are sustainable food solutions the food industry —including producers, farmers, legislators, and consumers should start working on to create a green, zero-waste food industry.  

Create an Efficient Supply Chain 

Whether through software solutions or with management techniques, supply chains should be optimized so that food travels less from the source to the stores. This ensures food is fresh and reduces potential food waste. 

Companies and restaurants who have perfected their supply chain always enjoy better profits, shareholder confidence, and consumer happiness. Because food trucks are one of the biggest sources of CO2 and greenhouse gases, the food industry should do something about it. For example, you can reduce the distance food needs to travel. You can also start upgrading food trucks so they use electricity – electric vehicles and biodiesel. Reducing their emissions can help make the entire food process more sustainable. 

Optimize Production 

By optimizing production, food producers can speed up a product’s time to market which reduces overhead and scaling on facilities. A good food production system can also lower the use of power, water, and harmful emissions emitted by food factories.

Business owners have to be creative and resourceful to create better and efficient production systems. They should routinely review their workflows and search for sustainable food solutions. From improving their logistics to digitizing their resource management, it’s important to take necessary steps to eliminate inefficiencies. 

Lower Meat Production 

Many meat factories take up so much resources to run. By reducing them, consumers will seek other food sources which are more sustainable than meat. The vast majority of meat we consume come from meat factory farms that  are very destructive for our environment. 

Not only do the industrial meat systems take up land to sustain themselves, they are also the no.1 reason why people burn forests. This is all because farmers need to grow enough crops to feed their farm animals. When forests are burned, billions of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. 

Support Local Food Vendors and Farmers

Locally grown food always tastes better than imported ones because they’re mostly fresh. They’re also more nutritious since they don’t have to stay stored for a long time before consumption. 

Always strive to buy food from your local food vendors instead of imported food from groceries. The less demand for imported food, the less outside food producers will want to transport their goods. Furthermore, supporting local vendors and farmers helps your community’s economy.  

Develop Packaging 

Unsustainable and wasteful packaging such as plastic and styrofoams are the most common wastes that are polluting our cities and oceans. Food producers should strive to use better materials for their packaging. 

They should also start using innovative packaging solutions that will help with the quality of food. For example, the use of silver nanoparticles to double the length of time before spoon foils. Or they can use packaging that changes color when the food inside has gone bad.   

Reduce Food Waste

Each year we surpass the number of food we consume. And as the food industry grows, so does its negative impact on our planet. As a consumer, what you can do is to make the most of the food you purchase. Don’t buy more than you can eat and don’t toss out food that you can still recycle. Instead of throwing out vegetable scraps, why not use them to create delicious vegetable broths? 

This applies to most food businesses and restaurants as well. They should stop throwing food and strive to donate extra food to charity and organizations. Restaurants should also stay away from creating large portions of orders that customers can end up throwing away. Proper inventory management is also critical to prevent food from expiring before consumption. 

Final Thoughts About Sustainable Food Solutions

Our current global food production methods must be changed to minimize the negative effects of harmful greenhouse gases on our environment. Just like with other man-made activities that contribute to climate change, the industry must hire experts within their companies and communities to help change their systems. We must adopt sustainable food solutions that will mitigate negative effects of production. 

Ensuring that there’s a sustainable system for producing food will prepare us for the world’s fast growing population. This will also ensure that the food we consume is nutritious, safe, and produced with minimal resources needed.