What we choose to eat and drink contributes significantly to our environmental and social impacts. Therefore, diet is a crucial factor in adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. This is one area where voting with your wallet can have a significant, real-world impact. Plus, food is vital to health and well-being, and for that reason alone is well-worth your attention (and money).
- Eat less meat and fewer animal products. Meat and animal products are far more resource-intensive than alternative options. The UN has long-urged lower meat consumption as key to tackling climate change, not to mention animal welfare issues. There are also clear health benefits to such dietary change. Why not try out the plant-based cafe on the 8th floor of Bush House, Strand Campus?
- Eat organic. Research suggests that it’s healthier for you, and it’s undoubtedly better for the environment through its general rejection of chemicals and high standards of environmental and animal welfare. Organic products can be more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but this is for good reason and one has to consider if the benefits merit the difference in price.
- Buy Fairtrade. Fairtrade certification indicates a high standard of welfare for producers and allows typically exploited small-scale operations to improve their trading position and returns. King’s is a Fairtrade University, and you can find many Fairtrade products in the King’s Food and KCLSU outlets. All coffee sold by King’s Food is not only Fairtrade, but also organic.
- Buy local. Supporting local production can reduce carbon emissions while providing a boost to the local economy. Further, it generally means fresh food, which can be healthier, and seasonal food, which is more sustainable. Farmers’ Markets offer cheap, local products with minimal packaging. Better yet, grow your own!
- Plan your portions, and enjoy leftovers. UK households throw away 7 million tonnes of food every year (at a cost of £12.5 billion), largely attributable to cooking too much and not using leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste can help you to plan your portions and give you ideas for re-using leftover food.
- Love Food Hate Waste (portion planner)
- Part-Time Carnivore
- Sustainable Food Trust
- Soil Association
- London Farmer’s Markets
Nature, UN FAO, Soil Association, Fairtrade
If there is one near you, shop at a food coop. They typically offer more sustainable food items than a conventional store and at a discount. If you join, they often give even bigger discounts.