Published 5 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
From naturally pest-resistant grains to vitamin-rich flowers and drought-defying roots, they outline 50 nutritious foods that are better for our health and environment.
In the latest in a string of recent research highlighting “hidden
in our food system and the urgent need for more “Earth-Functional
WWF-UK has partnered with Knorr, Unilever’s largest food brand and one
of the largest in the world, to help tackle the negative environmental impacts
of global food production. Together, they’ve launched The Future 50
Foods report, a collection of diverse,
plant-based foods from around the world that can boost the nutritional value of
our meals whilst reducing the environmental impact of our food supply.
As Unilever points
globally, we rely on a dangerously small number of ingredients for our staple
diet — the FAO has revealed that 75 percent of the global food supply comes
from just 12 crops and five animal species, yet there are more than 20,000 known
edible plant species worldwide.
This negatively impacts our health — a lack of dietary diversity makes it more
difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need — as well as the planet,
as monoculture poses a threat to food security and makes our food system less
resilient to pests or the impacts of climate change.
It’s also linked to a decline in plant and animal diversity, with grave
consequences for our fragile natural ecosystems. WWF’s Living Planet
published in October, found that our food system is the biggest driver of
biodiversity loss on the planet, causing more environmental damage than
transport or energy.
So, Knorr and WWF teamed up with leading scientists, nutritionists and
agricultural experts to compile the Future 50 Foods report, which showcases 50
nutritious, plant-based ingredients — some familiar, others less so — selected
based on their nutritional value and relative impact on the environment.
Following on a
launched late last year with UK retailer Tesco, through the Knorr
partnership WWF is continuing its efforts to inspire chefs, retailers and
shoppers to adopt a greater variety of plant-based
The report combines some familiar ingredients — such as lentils, wild
rice and kale — with lesser-known foods including fonio, pumpkin
flowers and cactus. Many of these have higher yields than the crops we
currently rely on, and several are more resilient to challenging weather and
environmental conditions, making them prime candidates for helping to reduce the
land required for crops and prove invaluable in the face of growing climate
“We are a 180-year-old brand and have been committed to sustainability for just
under a decade,” Knorr’s Global VP, April Redmond, told Marketing
“We haven’t really talked very much about it, so this is our opportunity to talk
about what we’re doing to help the people we serve and make food better for them
and the planet. Because of our scale, we can make food available to a lot of
different types of people at many different levels within society. We’re trying
to use the opportunity that Unilever presents, but also a big brand like Knorr
presents, to convene action around this very important issue.”
Knorr says that, through its products, promotions and programs, its goal is to
make these foods more accessible and appealing for audiences all over the world
— the brand is working with leading retailers to ensure that a wider variety of
plant-based foods are made available. And Knorr chefs have been experimenting
with each of the 50 ingredients, to create recipes that will be shared online
and in stores globally, to make choosing these foods tasty, easy and exciting
“Unless we change the foods we eat and the way we grow them, it will be
challenging to have enough food to feed us all well,” Redmond says. “Our
ambition is to make it easier for people to eat a wider variety of foods that
are good for us, good for the planet, and of course delicious at the same time.”
Published Feb 20, 2019 1am EST / 10pm PST / 6am GMT / 7am CET