Menu for Change
10 young ‘FutureFoodMakers’ call for radical transformation to make the food system more sustainable
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Published: 30 November 2021
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Young people across Europe are demanding EU-wide changes to make the food system more sustainable.
In a manifesto launched at the Future of Food Conference, 10 young ‘FutureFoodMakers’ are calling for regenerative agriculture, uniform nutrition and labelling guidelines, tackling food waste and an EU-wide true cost of food policy.
Putting food on the agenda
The 10 FutureFoodMakers – aged 18-24 – were appointed by EIT Food to ensure the views of the next generation are heard during crucial discussions about the future of the food system.
They have developed a ‘Menu for Change’ of six priority demands for the food system to improve access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food, which is being presented to an audience of policymakers and food system leaders at the Future of Food Conference 2021.
‘In a crucial year for global climate talks, we need the next generation – who will be most
affected by the climate crisis – to have a seat at the table in shaping a future-fit food system. We know that the world cannot achieve its goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees without addressing global food systems, yet food could have been more prominent on the agenda at COP26. That is why, as we look to make food a high priority in global sustainability dialogues over the next year, we have brought together 10 young FutureFoodMakers to represent young people across Europe, and make their views, needs and recommendations known through the Menu for Change.’
DR ANDY ZYNGA
CEO of EIT Food
The six demands reflect the areas the FutureFoodMakers feel will make the biggest impact to ensure the next generation can inherit a future-fit food system.
Six demands for the food system
The Menu for Change calls upon European food sector stakeholders to target 25% of EU agricultural land to be managed under regenerative practices by 2030 and develop a training body to support existing and new farmers in the transition to regenerative farming.
It calls for a definition of uniform EU nutrition and labelling guidelines which are easy and accessible, meet individuals’ needs and include the environmental impact of food products.
An inclusion policy should consider the effects of regulations on food costs among vulnerable populations and the provision of vouchers for nutrient-rich foods.
An EU-wide true cost of food policy should be developed that mandates the calculation of the true cost of foods produced by medium-large corporations and multinationals through the implementation of lifecycle analysis and impact assessments.
Food waste should be tackled in supermarkets and through the development of the Bioeconomy strategy by creating supermarket reduction monitoring plans that feed into the EU-wide food waste monitoring programme and accelerate the development of substitutes to fossil fuel-based materials that are biobased, recyclable or biodegradable at EU level.
Finally, the nutritional, health, and environmental implications of food should be included in education curriculums for children, and support and resources on healthy and sustainable diets should be made available to parents and teachers.
‘We – the next generation of leaders, decision makers and consumers – deserve a voice about these changes and what our future food system should look like. It is time for young people to be heard.
‘Representing young people from across Europe, the Menu for Change puts forward our views on how the agrifood decision makers of today should be working to secure our food, our food system, and our future. Underpinning this is the universal need for social justice and inclusion.
‘Transitioning to a better, more resilient European food system requires urgent change and innovation across the food value chain – from farmers, manufacturers and retailers to governments, NGOs and consumers. As we use these recommendations to drive conversations with stakeholders across the agrifood sector, we must ensure no one is left behind and everyone’s voice is heard.’
JÚLIA MONTOLIU BONEU
Gen Z and the food system
The Menu for Change reflects new research that reveals young people across Europe want an overhaul of the global food system to protect the environment.
The new research, commissioned by EIT Food, surveyed over 2,000 18- to 24-year-olds from across the UK, France, Germany, Poland and Spain.
The findings show that nearly eight in 10 (78%) young people think we need to take urgent action to make the way we produce and consume food more sustainable.
Two-thirds (66%) feel that our current food system is destroying the planet and that the situation is only getting worse; 61% think the food sector has become less sustainable in recent years.
Food sustainability is of growing concern for this age group, with two-thirds (64%) saying it has become more important to them in the past 12 months. 65% think that Gen Z cares more about this than older generations.
Of agriculture practices and food products, Gen Z considers fruit and vegetable farming to be one of the most sustainable options, with 74% saying they believe this to be sustainable. This is followed by growing food locally (74%), organic farming (72%) and plant-based foods (70%). Half of young people (50%) consider importing food to be unsustainable.