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Sustainability: What could possibly be next?

One option on the table: making emission impacts from food clear on menus, just like restaurants have done with calorie counts. Are food labels next?

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A recent article in the journal Popular Science stated that one-fifth of Americans are responsible for half of the country’s food-based emissions. According to the report, Martin Heller, an engineer at the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, is currently studying the topic. Heller says society has not done well in encouraging people to change their diets for health reasons. Then, he started to think about how our society has successfully changed its view on smoking. What if we could view dietary choices the same way — as affecting other people’s health and the planet’s as well? Would consumers start to make different food choices?

The Better Buying Lab at the World Resources Institute is studying how to get consumers to make environmentally conscious choices, according to the article. In addition, the report states that Menus of Change, a project between the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is working on ways chefs and restaurants can push diners to eat less beef and more plant-based foods. One option on the table: Make emission impacts from food clear on the menu, just like many restaurants have done with calorie counts.

While this movement is just underway, it should be on your sustainability and CSR radar. Could food-based emission counts make their way to food labels? On the radar here at ProFood World are some award-winning sustainability projects. In fact, the sixth annual Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards will be presented at ProFood Live!, a new food and beverage manufacturing industry conference from ProFood World scheduled for June 21 in Chicago.

At the event, award winners from Conagra Brands, Hormel, Land O’Lakes, Smithfield and others will share their sustainability success stories on topics including waste treatment, packaging materials reductions, water conservation and more.

ProFood Live! will also explore many other pressing topics on improving overall manufacturing efficiency. Visit to view the conference program and register now. 

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