Food and Beverage Business
General News

Study reveals food system as key driver behind EU-27 countries exceeding biocapacity

Study reveals food system as key driver behind EU-27 countries exceeding biocapacity bakery, Carbohydrates and fibres (sugar, EU, Farm-to-fork, fish and savoury ingredients, food waste, GHG emissions, International trade, meat, Policy, Proteins, starches), Sustainability Food and Beverage Business

In the food and beverage industry, biocapacity plays a crucial role in supporting human life through the production of food and fuel, as well as waste management. However, a recent study published in Nature Food reveals that the 27 countries within the EU have exceeded their biocapacity between 2004 and 2014, primarily due to the food system.

The study assesses each Member State’s ability to meet their citizens’ needs, and the results are less than promising. Food consumption accounts for 28% to 31% of the ecological footprint during this period, utilizing over half of the available biocapacity. This makes it the largest component of the ecological footprint, surpassing even personal transportation.

On a per capita basis, Luxembourg had the highest food footprint by the end of the study in 2014, while Ireland had the lowest. The study identifies meat, fish, seafood, bread, and cereals as the main contributors to the ecological footprint, making up 49% of the average food footprint despite only accounting for 27% of the total food available.

Particular attention is given to beef, as reducing its consumption and substituting it with poultry, pig meat, or beans and pulses could lead to significant reductions in the food footprint. However, the proportion of food in the overall ecological footprint varies among countries based on consumption habits and food types.

The impact of globalization on food footprints is also highlighted in the study. It reveals that a significant portion of the food footprints in the EU countries relies on biocapacity imported through international trade. While most of this importing occurs within the EU, some countries have a higher international food footprint due to their consumption habits and food waste.

Although there have been some improvements in the reduction of both overall ecological footprints and per capita food footprints between 2004 and 2014, food still remains the predominant factor in exceeding biocapacity. This poses challenges for meeting carbon targets and calls for changes in domestic food policies and sourcing practices.

Understanding the role of food in the EU’s ecological footprint is crucial, especially in light of the Farm to Fork Strategy’s potential to align with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, the study emphasizes that changing domestic food policies alone will not be sufficient to meet these goals, as the EU must also address its sourcing practices.

Related posts

Hong Kong Bans Certain US Poultry Imports to Prevent Spread of Bird Flu

FAB Team

Unpredictable climate affects potato production

FAB Team

German meat consumption reaches all-time low

FAB Team