Recent scientific evidence/research that supports our proposal
This report outlines how diets will need to change to support a growing global population, in terms of human and planetary health. "Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth." The report concludes that the optimal diet is a 'flexitarian diet', which is overwhelmingly plant-based but can optionally include modest amounts of fish, meat and dairy foods. "Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%.
This report shows that animal agriculture is becoming more intensive as the number of total farms decreases, their size is heading in the opposite direction. Worryingly, the report indicates that 63% of all EU cropland is used to feed to livestock, which is a really inefficient way of harnessing energy within the crops themselves. It also shows that between 18% and 20% of the EU's total budget is used for CAP payments to producers of fodder for animals.
This report shows that Europe would still be able to feed its growing population even if it switched to environmentally-friendly approaches such as organic farming. This is necessary due to recent research showing insect populations are steeply declining due to the use of pesticides. Reductions in yields could be mitigated by reorienting diets towards plant-based proteins and away from grain-fed meat.
The Broken Plate report examines the food system and unpicks some of the underlying policy reasons for its failure to deliver the necessary public goods. It reveals some startling statistics, e.g. 10% of five-year-olds are obese, 20% of 11-year-olds are obese, 3.1 million people are registered with diabetes, up from 2.4 million in 2010. One of the key ways to address these problems it suggests is through harnessing the power of public procurement. They specifically suggest, 1) Ensuring that publicly procured food sets the standard for healthy and sustainable diets, 2) Food eaten in schools, hospitals, care homes, prisons and the military not only represent a huge volume but a huge opportunity to show what good food is, and, 3) Delivering meals which are in line with the Eatwell Guide should be mandatory for all publicly procured food even if this costs more. These changes would help to drive system-wide change.