To ensure its food security, the European Union must not produce more, but adapt its current production and consumption methods, warns the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in its report ” Europe eats the world published on Monday, which also denounces food waste.
The research compiled in the report makes several observations. Firstly, far from the received idea, the European Union does not ” feeds not the planet. Indeed, if globally it is the world’s leading exporter of foodstuffs, from a nutritional point of view, it imports more calories and proteins than it exports.
Second largest importer of products related to deforestation
The production of foodstuffs in the EU – largely processed products – also depends on its imports, notably of cereals but also of fertilizers.
Increasing production would therefore only lead to an increase in imports with all the devastating effects they can have on the environment, estimates the WWF. The European Union is indeed the second largest importer of products linked to deforestation, behind China and far ahead of India and the United States.
On the other hand, the report also sheds light on food waste. About 40% of the food produced in the world is never consumed, notes the WWF. At EU level, this amounts to the waste of 173 kg of food by each European, every year. Losses often occur at the beginning of the circuit, either directly at production, in particular due to ” structural problems in the food system » et « contractual obligations“, according to the Fund.
The exorbitant cost of food waste
« The European Union’s food imports and domestic production are fundamentally unsustainable as they eat away at natural resources, increase deforestation and deplete fish stocks around the world“, concludes the WWF. In addition, food waste has an exorbitant cost for our climate and biodiversity« .
« Trying to increase food production in the EU to respond to the current global food crisis, as some politicians and lobbies suggest, would only exacerbate these problems. The next legislative framework for a sustainable food system, which the European Commission should propose in 2023, must be a turning point, believes the WWF.
« The European Commission can no longer hesitate to take decisive action to reduce the social and environmental impacts of our food consumption“, comments the main author of the report, Jabier Ruiz.
Citizens’ will to change their consumption exists, according to the WWF, but we cannot be satisfied with relying on the enlightened choices of informed consumers, it is the role of food consumption policies to give priority to strategic interventions aimed at reshaping the context in which food choices are made, concludes the WWF.