6th June 2017

Unilever launches manifesto to fix ‘broken’ food system

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The global brand also kicked off its Farm to Fork series – a collection of blogs, videos and infographics in partnership with other organisations and individuals – calling for large-scale change to the food system.

Amanda Sourry, president of Unilever’s foods category, warned that the global food system was broken but said there were reasons to be hopeful that the problem could be fixed.

“The environmental cost of agriculture on our finite resources is huge,” she said. “Farming uses up to three-quarters of the world’s available freshwater and agriculture-related deforestation, livestock emissions and soil degradation contribute to climate change. But the disconnect between what we grow and what we eat has an even greater impact. Research conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation reveals that nearly a third of British primary school children interviewed believed that cheese came from a plant and one in five had never visited a farm.

“Without any connection to nature, it is not surprising that we reject ‘wonky’ vegetables or throw away perfectly good food that could be made into nutritious meals. While around 800 million people don’t have enough to eat, roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year.”

Technology is playing a big role in changing the food value chain for the better, Ms Sourry said, improving techniques and logistics to transform how food is grown and transported.

Under its Farm to Fork series, expert voices will give their perspectives on what’s needed to fix the system, culminating in a global ‘call to action’ on World Food Day, October 16.

“We know we can’t affect global change of the scale that is needed on our own,” Ms Sourry said. “If we want to achieve sustainable nutrition for all, we need to work with others in the food and related industries – NGOs, governments, farmers, suppliers and importantly, consumers – to change the relationship between the production and consumption of food. Only by reconnecting the farm to our forks – at every step along the food value chain – will we build a new system that supports the health of future populations and the planet.”