Eat your veggies: They key to eating sustainably

    17 June 2023

    With Sustainable Gastronomy Day and Eat your Veggies Day this weekend, following the science of sustainable eating is about getting back to basics and avoiding the falsely premised food fads.

    “Everyone wants to do their part to support the environment, but choosing genuine sustainable food sources can be a dizzying equation of indicators, contradictions and factors outside the control of one person,” said Chief Executive Office of CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, Mr Matthew Cossey.

    “Sustainable gastronomy is about eating in a way that supports sustainable development through agricultural development, nutrition, food production and conservation of biodiversity. The more environmental indicators built into the equation the more it blurs the actual environmental impacts between individual foods.

    “As a result, we’ve seen a new market for unscientific food fads that target and seek to mislead the environmentally conscious consumer and inappropriately shift the blame to agricultural practices. All this does is leave consumers out of pocket while creating an unhealthy discourse about food production that doesn’t benefit personal health or the environment.”

    According to the CSIRO, the real science to eating more sustainably starts with three fundamental principles.

    Reduce discretionary foods: On average discretionary foods like processed snacks, baked goods and alcohol make up to 30 per cent of Australians energy intake and 40 per cent of diet related water, energy, emissions and land use.

    Eat three serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day: Just one in 10 Australian adults eat enough vegetables recommended for good health. Regardless of whether they are conventionally grown or organic, fruit and veg have the same nutrition and a lower environmental impact than less nutritious processed foods.

    Reduce food waste: Every year, 2600 gigalitres of water and 25 million hectares of land is used to grow food that is wasted in Australia.

    “The best thing Australians can do is avoid diet trends and follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This alone could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent,” said Mr Cossey.

    “Plant science innovations also help Australians make smart food choices that support healthier, more sustainable lives. From more nutritious fruit and vegetables with a longer shelf life to supporting agricultural practices that produce more food on less land, pesticides and crop biotechnology innovations play a key role in providing consumers with more sustainable food choices than ever before,” concluded Mr Cossey.