The link between food and sustainable development


Food is strongly linked to sustainable development, through its relationship with health and environmental issues.


“A sustainable food system is a type of food system that provides healthy food to people while also providing sustainable impacts on both environmental, economic and social systems that surround food.”


New trend or new reality?

In France, agriculture accounts for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions (the third largest emitter). These emissions have been decreasing only slightly for several years (-6% between 1990 and 2017). There is natural link between greenhouse emissions and overproduction, overconsumption, food waste and the food production techniques used.

According to the Ethicity study of May 2016 (conducted by GreenFlex, in partnership with ADEME), for 76% of French people, responsible consumption is a way to get involved in sustainable development. According to the same study, the main concerns motivating responsible consumption are well-being and health.

It is therefore normal that responsible consumption is gradually becoming popular in people’s mind, for example, through an increase in the purchase of organic or locally produced food. But how does this translate when we want to eat outside ?

Vegetarian/vegan restaurants are on a roll, being nowadays a legit competitor to traditional junk food. Meaning more responsible food and less pollution (meat and dairy are the food that produces the most greenhouse gas in the food chain).

The demand for doggy bags is a popular and widespread practice throughout the restaurant industry, reducing food waste very slightly. In fact, one third of the world’s food production, around 1.6 billion tons, is thrown away. Knowing that it is estimated that there will be a 30% increase in food waste by 2030 if nothing is done.

To partially respond to this problem, many solutions have begun to emerge. Thanks to digital technology, and through applications such as “Too Good To Go” for example, it is possible to avoid waste by buying unsold goods from restaurants or bakeries at a reduced price.

Takeaway and home delivery are popular practices in the restaurant industry (notably because of applications such as “Deliveroo” or “Uber Eats”), but this is not to say that it cannot be compatible with responsible consumption. Indeed, restaurants can implement practical solutions, such as the use of returnable glass jars or the non-use of plastic, combined with the fact that the food is delivered by bike, the negative impact can be drastically reduced.

Digital technology has also made it possible to develop other facilities. This is the case of applications such as “Yuka” that analyzes the composition of our food, helping us making the right decision when doing grocery shopping. Or the development of “delivery basket systems” that local farms offer on the Internet, or simply the creation of information points concerning local markets and their accessibility.


It is obvious that focusing mainly on catering will not solve all the sustainable development problems related to agriculture and food in general. But it is important to show the consumer that there are alternatives and solutions to consume sustainably, whether when shopping on their own, or when they decide to order food or go to restaurants.



Quote from :

A propos de Steven GUILBERT-SAUTRON

Etudiant en M2 Gestion et Droit des Energies et du Développement Durable. Passionné par les questions environnementales, éthiques et les nouvelles technologies.


Etudiant en M2 Gestion et Droit des Energies et du Développement Durable. Passionné par les questions environnementales, éthiques et les nouvelles technologies.

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