A chicken dish got delivered to my place
And then I had to decide between staying vegetarian and minimizing food waste
And I chose to minimize food waste.
I had turned vegetarian around 6 months ago.
The numerous documentaries influenced me to make that decision.
The amount of resources used to produce meat, the stress it causes to the planet and the unhealthy condition in which animals are raised made me take that step.
This is my last week in Montreal. And we had ordered a bowl of vegetable curry for dinner.
Instead, they delivered us a bowl of chicken curry.
The refund was instant.
But there was a bowl of chicken curry that the app or the restaurant wouldn’t have taken back.
And I felt that throwing it away would not only waste all the resources that have gone into producing it but would also create more greenhouse gases.
And thus I decided to consume it. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but it felt right to me.
I am curious to know if you would have done something different. Just reply to this email or drop a comment below.
For this week, I have focused on 3 startups that are helping us eat healthily. Food that is healthy for us is healthy for the planet too⬇️
Food labels are confusing…Poor diet harms the people and the planet. Yes, they are related. Bad eating habits are a greater cause of disease and death than tobacco or alcohol. Diets high in processed meat and sugary drinks are causing dietary risk. Food rich in vegetables, nuts and whole grains helps humans avoid diseases and also protects climate and water resources. So how do we ensure that the food we are consuming is good for us and the planet?
Like for everything else, there’s an app…Yuka started in France 4 years ago with a mission to end the confusion around food labels. Just by scanning the bar code on the food product, customers can know its nutritional value and the impact of the product on their health. The app has expanded to 12 countries and recognizes 70% of products in the countries it is available in.
Using a smartphone, a shopper can scan the barcode of a food label.
It then displays a product card that combines the nutritional values and the ingredient list and provides a score on a scale of 100.
Lower scores indicate a higher level of unhealthy ingredients such as fat, salt, sugar and additives.
No ads, please…To stay independent and unbiased, Yuka has decided to not take any money from brands to advertise their products. The alternative healthy products recommended by the app are based on the algorithm that takes into account the product category (same category), product rating (high rating) and product availability (should be easily available). Personally, this has changed my food purchasing behaviour.
We need to eat sustainably…If we stop meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by 75%. That’s equivalent to the combined area of the US, China, European Union and Australia. Meat and dairy just provide 18% of calories and 37% of protein to the world but they are responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. The sooner we can switch to a plant-based diet, the lesser impact it would have on our planet’s resources.
Yelp for plant-based food…Happy Cow helps you to find vegan and vegetarian places to eat around the world. On their app or the website, people can look for vegan and vegetarian places. It also suggests places that have vegetarian-friendly options. Happy Cow users can write a review for different places that can be viewed by other users
You can explore vegan, vegetarian or veg-friendly places around you
They also have top-rated (user-reviewed) vegan places
If you’re looking to stay at a place that uses organic products and serves vegan/vegetarian food, they have a curated list of B&B’s
You’re not alone…They are also building a community where people can talk about vegan or vegetarian restaurants, plant-based diets and recipes, animal rights and welfare and how to find the best vegan and vegetarian places around the world. You can also shop from a curated list of vegan products in the US on their website.
Anthropocene…is where we have entered. It’s a geological epoch where humans influence every aspect of the planet. Food manufacturing is one of the 5 highest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Agricultural lands cover 35% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface. But unfortunately, 33% of all the food produced is simply wasted. And all this is happening while 1 out of 4 children under the age of five is so malnourished that they will never reach their full physical and cognitive potential.
Do these places deserve my money?… Australia-based Fair Food Forager ranks cafes, restaurants, grocers and suppliers on different aspects of sustainability. Consumers can see how their favourite restaurant or grocer is managing different aspects like food waste, plastic waste and if they are more focused on sourcing locally. It started with 15 listings in 2015 and has since grown to more than 6000 listings around 20 countries.
The venues are mostly listed by sustainability ambassadors around the world- people who understand the impact of our actions on the planet.
Consumers can filter food choices from 16 different options.
They can choose what they are most concerned about- cruelty-free, plastic-free, ethical sourcing or others.
Should the cucumber be wrapped in plastic?… Or should these tomatoes have rather been grown locally versus importing them from halfway across the world? I am always faced with these questions while shopping in the supermarkets or online and most of the time, I don’t have the time and patience to find the answers. It’s great to see technology being used to answer these questions.
🔍Ready for this week’s crossword challenge?
You can solve it by clicking here
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📢 Shoutout to Paridhi who helped me write this edition.
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You have highlighted such an interesting dilemma right at the beginning!