Foodtank, a US think tank for food describes its main mission as follows: "Our food system is broken. Some people don't have enough food, while others are eating too much. There's only one way to fix this problem - and it starts with you and me." Last week's Food Tank Summit in Washington defined three ways how consumers can take action to save a struggling food system.
- Curbing Food Waste: In the United States, 40 percent of food is wasted. If consumers paid attention to when perishable foods are safe to eat, rather than treating "sell-by" or "best-by" dates like expiration dates, this number could easily be reduced.
- Consider where your food comes from: By choosing products that are produced sustainably and locally, consumers don't only counter the depletion of soil, but also support local farmers and communities.
- Reduce Meat Consumption: Not only does raising cattle for meat production cause damages to the land, it also makes up a significant share of global greenhouse gasses. By cutting back on meat consumption, Americans could cut their dietary environmental footprint in half, as the World Resources Insitute reports.
Of course, let's not forget that food companies play a crucial role in changing our food system. But still: Consumers have more power than they realize. We are the ones who choose what products to buy, and therefore what companies to support. Next time you go to the store, take a moment to realize: The products that end up in your shopping cart shape the world we live in!