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The future of food

April 29, 2010

Last week, I attended the Scottish Food and Drink Federation’s 8th annual food conference: ‘The Future of Food: Can We Strike the Right Balance?’ in Edinburgh.

I was looking forward to hearing a diverse array of opinions and ideas but I wasn’t prepared for how fascinating the day would actually be.

A variety of experts from both the food and environmental sectors identified many issues affecting the future of food in the morning’s presentations, including food security, feeding a growing population, the potential role of new technologies, and the two of particular interest to me (you won’t be surprised to hear) – the impact of climate change and securing a sustainable food industry.

James Withers, Chief Executive of the National Farmers Union Scotland made it clear: “In the next 20-30 years we need to be producing 50% more food on less land, using less energy and less water and producing fewer emissions.”

Clearly, the food industry faces enormous challenges and it must rise to these by identifying new commercial opportunities that could safeguard their companies.

I spent the day listening intently to incredible potential solutions including genetic modification, nanotechnology and irradiation. As well as the efforts The Scottish Government are taking to ensure we remain one of the most forward thinking nations. And in the back of my mind (the bit that hadn’t been melted by complex theories) was repeating the opening paragraph of Love Food Hate Waste’s recipe information pack…

”In Scotland we throw away 566,000 tonnes of food waste every year and of that 69% could have been avoided if we managed our food better.”

The food industry and The Scottish Government are taking great measures to ensure the sustainability of food, and we can help. By taking small steps to reduce our food waste, we can ensure a higher proportion of food produced is available for consumption. We can make sure energy and water used in food production is not used to produce food that is needlessly wasted. And we can reduce the 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide that is generated unnecessarily in the production and disposal of waste food every year in Scotland.

For hints and tips to help you reduce your food waste visit www.wasteawarelovefood.org.uk.

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