How the food industry can transform the national diet

WWF’s Joanna Trewern discusses why she thinks brands should enable consumers to make better choices for themselves and the planet when purchasing food.

We’re facing into a triple challenge: how to feed a growing global population while limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and restoring nature. We operate in a global food system, but production and consumption happen locally, meaning we need local solutions to drive change.

In the UK, transforming the national diet is vital to meet this triple challenge and deliver positive benefits for climate, nature and people. That’s why it’s such a critical part of our work at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Our global emissions budget will run out in just six years if we carry on with business as usual, according to recent research. With food accounting for around 30 percent of global emissions, it’s a prime area that needs deep transformation. In the UK, we can wave goodbye to our national net zero target unless we transition to healthy sustainable diets. Dietary ill-health including obesity and micronutrient deficiencies will only get worse, and the same goes for diet inequality.

Eating for Net Zero – a healthy sustainable UK diet

The good news is that we can achieve a healthy sustainable diet for the UK population without everyone having to go vegetarian or vegan or give up treats. It’s possible to adopt a healthy sustainable diet that works for the many rather than the few, one that is nutritious, cost-effective and has a lower environmental impact.

In our new Eating for Net Zero report, we show what this diet looks like: it’s plant-rich, varied, with moderate amounts of meat, dairy and eggs and lower-footprint seafood, and minimal amounts of foods high in fat, salt and sugar that currently dominate the diets of many in the UK.