Anne Marie Moro,
“I’ve been on a constant diet
for the last two decades. I’ve
lost a total of 789 pounds. By all
accounts, I should be hanging
from a charm bracelet"
—Erma Bombeck, Author
Food, glorious food! So many choices and so many ways we can choose to eat! We obsess about ingredients, carbohydrates, sugar content and preservatives for sure; but, in the end, are we more concerned about its impact on our weight than we are about how we are eating or how what we eat is affecting our planet? Current trends certainly suggest that we are. Researchers from the University of Guelph looked at key food issues they believe will continue to dominate food choices and food production in 2018 and beyond.1 I’ve included a few of their findings here:
1. Increasing Choice and Micro-Markets – Consumers have access to more choices for food, including micro-markets niche products. There are also more places where you can buy food. (Maybe the time has come to ask: How much choice do we really want? How is convenience affecting the quality of food we can buy?)
2. The Rise of Alternate Proteins – Neilsons reports that 43% of Canadians say they are trying to include more plant-based proteins in their diets, reducing meat consumption or not eating meat at all. In the past 10 years, red meat consumption has dropped 25%. (Healthy trend. A nonvegetarian diet uses 2.9 times more
water, 2.5 times more primary energy, 13 times more fertilizer, and 1.4 times more pesticides than the vegetarian diet.)
3. Antibiotic Use in Meat Production – Antibiotic use is decreasing, but agriculturalists and farmers believe the complete removal of antibiotics from livestock production could affect animal health and welfare. (How to balance human health needs, consumer preferences and animal health needs is the on-going challenge.)
4. Restaurants Matter More – Canadians are spending more of their food dollars outside of the home. In fact, we currently spend roughly $80 billion dollars a year eating out. This is increasing faster than what we actually spend in grocery stores. Food delivery services and processed meal packages are blurring the line between restaurants and grocery stores, too. (Food for Thought: While restaurants are incorporating more healthy eating selections into their menus, what selections are you actually choosing?)
Whatever the trends are, eating healthy and sustainably remains challenging; but, it’s also doable when we choose diets with more fruits and vegetables, plant-based protein and reduce waste. We already live in a neighbourhood here on the West Shore that is blessed with an abundance of local markets and fresh food enterprises. Look for a local market listing in your area in our Community Events pages and delightful ways to source and prepare produce in this month’s issue. And remember, good food is always better when shared with good friends!