Certified Sustainable Food
Purchasing certified sustainable food is one way that consumers can vote with their dollars for environmentally friendly and socially responsible businesses. However, it can be hard to keep track of the many labels and standards.
This study investigated how consumers from Poland and Belgium—two countries with different cultural and economic backgrounds—perceive food quality and whether or not certification labels shape their perceptions.
A plant-based diet is growing in popularity for many reasons, including being healthier for humans and the planet. This type of diet is based on whole, unprocessed plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and whole grains. It can be high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, while also being low in sugar, saturated fats, and trans-fats.
A diet that is 75% plant-based requires fewer natural resources (land, water and energy) to produce, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes less to global warming than a diet with animal products. It is associated with reduced risks for heart disease, obesity, cancer, and high blood pressure.
It is important to note that a plant-based diet must be well planned and diversified to ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients, especially calcium, protein, iron, vitamins B12 and D. A diet that is primarily plant-based can still be unhealthy if it includes processed or red meat, as well as refined sugars and saturated fats.
Over thousands of years, wild bison (Bison bison) shaped ecological communities across the North American landscape. Their nomadic movements, grazing and wallowing behaviors encouraged diversity in grasses and soils and helped recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem. Their shaggy coats picked up seeds and dropped them in new places, and insects and bacteria decomposed their feces to return nutrients to the soil.
Today, most bison herds are free-range and graze on native grasses and hay. Their diets offer more beneficial fats than beef, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, making bison meat a smart choice for health-conscious consumers.
In addition, many bison ranches are smaller than cattle ranches and may be family-owned. Choosing bison supports these small-scale operations and helps to sustain rural communities. However, more research is needed to evaluate the sustainability of bison production as a large-ruminant species suitable for modern-day meat production.
Recycling is not only a great way to keep waste out of landfills, but it also reduces the need to extract new materials from our planet. This lowers energy costs and cuts pollution. For example, using recycled steel rather than freshly mined iron can save up to 70% of the energy required for processing new steel.
Recycling also helps protect wildlife by preventing natural habitats from being destroyed for access to raw materials. It ensures that animals don’t lose their homes to mining operations or that landfill debris doesn’t end up in the ocean, choking fish and other marine life.
You can help support sustainability by looking for a number of different certifications on your food. Besides the standard USDA Organic label, look for regenerative farming certifications like that of Patagonia Provisions or Dr. Bronner’s. These companies are committed to sustainable farming practices and social fairness for their workers. They prioritize soil health, create less waste and champion women’s rights.
The food industry has a huge impact on the environment, so it’s important to take steps to reduce this footprint. This can be done by reducing meat consumption (which has many health benefits) and buying certified sustainable foods. Another way to help the planet is to ensure you’re recycling your food packaging and preventing waste.
Certification programs like RSPO, RSB, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance set standards to ensure crops are sustainably harvested without harming the environment or local communities. They also encourage responsible sourcing of high-risk raw materials.
Another step is to minimize waste in the manufacturing process by optimizing production planning and using just-in-time methods. This helps manufacturers avoid excess inventory and produce exactly what is needed. Finally, minimizing waste by meal planning can stretch your grocery dollars and reduce food waste in landfills. This is an easy and effective way to make a big difference. The more informed you are, the better choices you can make!