How to reduce your food’s carbon footprint this World Health Day

Freddie Parker on 6 April 2022
Basket of freshly harvested vegetables

Find out what World Health Day is about this year and how you can get involved.

Held on the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Health Day exists to raise awareness of global health concerns.

This year’s theme is “Our planet, our health”. It asks us to consider whether we can reimagine a more sustainable world to support everyone’s well-being. Here are some of our top tips for reducing the carbon footprint of the food you eat:

Local and seasonal

The distance your food travels is one of the biggest factors in determining its carbon footprint. Long plane journeys to import exotic ingredients emit tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. One easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy local produce. Simply ensuring it comes from Europe instead of the other side of the world is a positive step.

Another factor that contributes is seasonality. If a fruit or vegetable is out of season in nearby countries, supermarkets might source them from places where the season is different. They may also use energy-guzzling hydroponics factories to produce these ingredients out of season. Get to know which foods are in season and stick to them as much as possible.

Reduce meat and dairy

A lot of energy and water is consumed by livestock farming, and a whopping 36% of all the crop we produce goes towards feeding livestock. This means the energy and water used to farm the crops have the added emissions from transport to and from the livestock farms. Throw in the additional resources needed to house, transport, and maintain the animals and you have one hefty carbon footprint.

You don’t need to cut them out entirely. Simply reducing your meat and dairy intake helps. The world doesn’t need a handful of people to be vegan, it needs the majority to slightly adjust their eating habits.

Cooking methods

The way you cook can also impact your carbon footprint. For example, an air fryer is an efficient alternative to using the oven. Less energy is used and the food cooks quicker. Try out some of these one-pot recipes to reduce the number of stove burners in use. You could even try cooking ingredients together to save energy, like steaming vegetables over cooking rice or pasta.

Reduce waste

Food waste contributes to multiple environmental issues. As well as creating needless emissions during production, it also releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, when it ends up in landfills.

Cooking together with your housemates and saving your leftovers are two easy ways to reduce food waste. If you have an outside space, consider getting a compost bin to dispose of anything you don’t eat. Any fruit and veg that aren’t looking as good as they once did, can be used to make smoothies, soups, or even cakes.

Meal kits

These are a fun way to reduce the carbon footprint of your meals. They reduce waste by sending you the ingredients in their correct portions. Providers like HelloFresh even come with sustainability and carbon-neutral promises.

Meal kits often reduce the length of the supply chain as the food makes fewer stops on its way to you. HelloFresh also innovate with their packaging, reducing the amount of single-use plastics the food is wrapped in.

How do you plan to reduce your carbon footprint this World Health Day? Join our panel and let us know. You’ll get 1000 reward points for signing up.

Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 6 April 2022