During 2019, it feels everyone became more aware of the environmental impact of their daily lives. From what we wear, to how we travel, to what we eat; everything has an impact on the environment. There is increasing pressure for everyone to ‘do their bit.’ Exactly what that means depends on the individuals' moral and ethical compass.

Feeding 9.8 billion people by 2050 is one of the biggest challenges we face. Global meat consumption has increased by 4 times in the last 50 years and it is set to increase further as countries get richer. Hence, we need to be producing food as efficiently as possible with high yields and minimal environmental impacts.

Global meat production

Global meat production since 1961. Source: Our World in Data

An article published recently highlighted how the dairy sector has increased water efficiency by 20%; 94% of factory waste is now being recycled or recovered and only 1.4% of input has been lost as food waste over the last 10 years. This highlights how progress is being made and the farmers are responding to industry targets. There is room for more improvement, but steps in the right direction is progression in motion.

Due to the global market of produce available in supermarkets people have become disengaged with seasonal and local foods. Fifty years ago, you would not be able to buy an avocado from Chile in your local supermarket but now it is commonplace. It takes 320 litres of water and a long-haul flight to get the avocado to you from South America. This global market comes at the environments detriment but the consumer (us) have driven this demand.

Changing weather patterns are expected (and are happening) with global warming, so it is only going to be more challenging for farmers to continue to produce food. We, as consumers, need to be mindful about what we consume to ‘do our bit’ to minimise food miles and our carbon footprint where possible.