Eradicating global hunger by 2030 was the ambitious goal that came out of the 2018 World Food Day (WFD). WFD is an annual world-wide event each October 16th to commemorate the founding of the Farm and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.
Ending hunger by 2030 is a tall order, given that roughly 820 million people around the globe suffer from a chronic shortage of food. That figure translates into one in nine people on the planet. Ironically, many of the developed nations are confronting historically high levels of obesity and the health problems that accompany unhealthy weight levels. Some have too much, others too little.
WFD focused on four encouraging trends, all of which fall under the umbrella of what some belief is the #1 food trend: A new consumer attitude toward food that involves much more than simply finding out what tastes good.
The credit for what some call “food mindfulness” should be given to the millennials. This generation isn’t interested in just mindlessly consuming. They prefer to be informed about their food choices and then fiercely support those brands that best align with their values. And other generations are following their lead.
According to the December 13, 2017, Forbes magazine, 70 percent of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. say they want to know more about each of the ingredients that go into their food. The article also noted new products that feature “do the right thing” claims on their packaging are up 700% in seven years.
According to WFD, the following are encouraging trends that move the world closer to a healthy, balanced diet for all people.
Support your local farmer
Ninety-eight percent of the world’s farms are small, family-owned operations. WFD pushes the concept of supporting these small farmers, especially those that are local. In many countries now, there is a growing movement for meals and beverages made with some or all ingredients from local sources.
Foodies often buy local, but they also love the adventure of cooking and eating new fare. For many, a perfect vacation means exotic travel and must, must include sampling new cuisines. For those traveling overseas, check if your primary health insurance provider covers overseas accidents and illnesses. If not, consider purchasing travel insurance that has emergency medical benefits.
Worldwide, more than 2.6 trillion pounds of food are wasted annually. That’s roughly 20 percent of the total amount of food produced. In the United States, we throw away or otherwise waste approximately 40 percent. Globally, zero-waste supermarkets, where nothing pre-packaged is sold, are catching on. In a zero-waste store, customers bring their own bags and food containers and take only the amount needed from bulk containers. That eliminates cardboard boxes and plastic that take their toll environmentally. In addition to being gentle with Mother Earth, consumers waste less actual food, studies show. Anyone who’s thrown out a cereal box with a handful of cereal remaining will understand why. To see a list of zero-waste stores around the world, visit https://www.bepakt.com.
“Supersize me” isn’t just an ordering option any longer. And the old exhortation to clean your plate that was the stuff of childhood dinner-table battles has resulted in too many of us in the developed world eating too much. Obesity rates are soaring and with the added weight comes a host of health issues. By selecting natural over processed foods and leaving the table after prudent eating, people can reduce their carbon footprint and the amount of food thrown away.
Where do you come from?
The need of people to know where their food comes from is at an all-time high. But it’s often very hard for customers or buyers to know the history of a product due to the opaqueness of the supply-chain process. A relatively new technology, Blockchain, could make that process more transparent. If the technology catches on, it may be possible to learn the entire history of a food item from creation to plate. Interest is strong in seeing what Blockchain can do. Early-adopters include Walmart, which is working with IBM and Tsinghua University, in Beijing, to track the history of pork in China that is sold to the store.
Although WFD is only a one-day event each year, it is a globally shared experience. Each person can do his/her part to further its goal of ending hunger. Buy from a farmer’s market. Compost. Say no to a second helping. Explore the history of the food that’s regularly on your table. Take a tote to the grocery store.
None of these activities is difficult. But it is in small steps taken by many that huge dreams are realized.