healthy sustain foods

Healthy eating, a lever for sustainable development

The goals of the 2030 Agenda are many and the time we have left to achieve them is less and less. Undoubtedly, we need new ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), more efficient methods with which to multiply results and promote change. Due to the size of the challenge that lies ahead, the commitment of multiple sectors is essential, and food is one of them. Achieving the SDGs in the face of global crises will require a type of disruptive innovation, leading us to exponential transformation. The United Nations Global Compact Spain has published a report entitled “SDG Year 7. Innovation to achieve the 2030 Agenda: The healthy food sector” in which it warns that, in recent years, consumers have demanded more sustainable, and, in this context, healthy eating is already becoming a requirement, which is why companies in the agri-food sector are beginning to make changes to adapt to this reality.

healthy sustain foods

On the other hand, the publication adds that the public sector is also echoing this social demand, since the public administrations are committed to a healthier diet and more sustainable processes, promoting programs such as the so-called ” From the farm to the table ”, one of the initiatives of the  European Green Pact  that seeks the transition to a more environmentally friendly food system. The publication on healthy eating delves into this business model that is growing exponentially. The role of companies and their contribution to innovation is offering great results in terms of sustainability and business opportunities. In this sense, the document explains that healthy eating is key to achieving the following SDGs:

  • SDG 2 Zero hunger : ensuring a healthy, nutritious and healthy diet is a priority to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
  • SDG 3 Health and well-being : food is directly related to health; Promoting a healthy diet aligns us with this Objective.
  • SDG 5 Gender equality : research in this sector during pregnancy can improve the quality of life and prevent diseases of mothers and children.
  • SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production . With a healthy diet based on certain ethical criteria we will achieve the efficient use of natural resources, reduce food waste, etc., contributing to responsible production and consumption.
  • SDG 14 Life underwater : avoiding overfishing and degradation of the marine environment.
  • SDG 15 Life of ecosystems on land : healthy soils provide nutrients and are the basis for the production of healthy food.

Clearly, for some time now, the way we eat has started to be a big concern. Situation that has been aggravated after the passage of the coronavirus. The Global Compact report warns that the COVID-19 crisis has transformed the way Spanish citizens view food and it is estimated that 80% of citizens are more aware of their health and of following a diet healthier after the pandemic. In addition, in this sector companies are very aware of the SDGs, specifically, it is observed that 93% of them carry out actions related to the 2030 agenda and more than 50% are betting on innovations and technology that impact sustainability and SDGs. . In this scenario, which is still in transformation,

  1. Natural ingredients and sustainability criteria in healthy eating

The document shows that consumers are demanding more and more ecological and natural products and that they follow ethical criteria during their production, distribution, etc. Specifically, according to research, in the last year the consumption of organic products has increased by 17% and companies are joining the new consumer trends using more natural ingredients, doing without chemical additives or opting for healthier product lines. . That they are beneficial not only for consumers, but also for the environment and society, since their health benefits affect everyone.

  1. Local products 

Another important fact that emerges from the report is that, currently, the commitment to local food is increasing for various reasons: they are more sustainable, they are healthier (the time between harvesting and consumption is shorter), they consume fewer resources naturally and economically benefits the region in which the company is present. In addition, according to the OCU, 82% of Spaniards believe that it is necessary to support local producers.

  1. More informed society

A key element when considering healthy eating is information. The publication shows that the tendency for consumers to increasingly opt for a healthier diet is closely linked to access to certain information. To know the benefits or harms of the products, there is a label that reflects the presence of additives, the nutritional value and the ingredients. But, in addition, in recent years, we have found various applications or web pages that provide us with more information about foods, specifying those that are healthy and those that are not. Through technology, consumers are informed to opt for products that are more beneficial for their health. Finally, in addition to those mentioned above, the Global Compact experts present other innovative trends that bring this sector closer to sustainability and that could revolutionize it in the coming years:

  • Packaging that improves food preservation and respects the environment.
  • New foods obtained from natural and sustainable sources that strengthen defenses and the immune system, as well as alternative sources of protein such as insects, microalgae, fungi or new plant species. During the SDG Year 7 publication event, we were able to enjoy a presentation by Carlos Rodríguez-Villa Förster, Managing Director of AlgaEnergy, who explained how innovation with microalgae in agriculture can create superfoods.
  • Innovations in nutrition for pregnant and lactating women
  • More sustainable, hygienic and safe food collection and processing processes.
  • Reduction of the use of fertilizers and pesticides that have a negative impact on the environment. These highly polluting products pose a risk to the environment and to human health.
  • Tools that promote healthy eating among consumers.
  • Technologies that allow the traceability of food from its origin to the end of its useful life.

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