Sustainable food choices
There is a need to change dietary patterns toward more sustainable alternatives.
One of the possible strategies to mitigate global warming is through dietary patterns. The food system contributes to about 30% of the total GHG and 18% of that is due to Livestock. Hence there is a need to change dietary patterns toward more sustainable alternatives. Environmentally-friendlier diets are those with little GHG emissions and are identifiable with less consumption of meat and dairy products and are in favor of local, seasonal and organic food products.
The aim of the project is to make consumer more familiar with the relationship between climate change and food consumption by the mean of a game. The general game idea is buy ingredients to prepare the environmentally- friendliest burger. The game is played in the form of a debate. The players play in 3 diverse roles: as consumers, as producers and as the environment. Each player has a personal role sheet: in the consumer’s sheet, the information is the ingredient’s price, the quantity, the cost per kg, the country of origin and the food labels. While the producer's sheet displays: the ingredient’s profit, the profit per kg of ingredient (10% of the sale price), the country of origin and the food labels. A well-established method to analyse the environmental impacts of products is the Life cycle assessment (LCA). Within this tool, a variety of different methods can be applied. Since my interest was in the relationship between food consumption and GHG emission, the Carbon Footprint (CF), expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (kg CO2eq), was chosen.
The environment’s sheet contained information about the county of origin of the ingredients, the food label and most important the carbon footprint values for the production, processing and transport stages. The game-debate begins with the purchase of the ingredients by the consumer. He/she has to buy bread, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and a patty, for making a personal burger, according to his/her nutritional goals and budget. At the same time, the producer and the environment must convince the consumer, with their own motivations, to let the consumers buy what they want. The producer has the most expensive ingredients, since they should allow him to make the most profit. Those food products are generally organic, local and animal based. While the environment’s ingredients are those with the lowest CF, so organic, local and plant based. What happens is that for the local and organic products the two players agree, while for the food category they will go against each other. The idea on which the game is based is that the students acknowledge what are environmentally-friendlier diets by the means of the motivations used by the different players according to.