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Food Sustainability Matters

Michelle Robinson

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More than half of UK consumers want climate-friendly food 

Food sustainability matters to UK consumers. According to a recent survey commissioned by Yara, more than half of UK consumers consider climate impact when buying food. 

The report’s findings show that UK consumers are highly motivated to buy sustainable food to reduce their impact on the environment. This represents a huge opportunity for the food industry to focus on reducing emissions. 

Doing so makes sense not only for the planet, but it makes good business sense too. The report found that out of 1,000 UK respondents, 53% consider the climate impact important when buying food and beverages. Not only that, 38% of UK consumers are willing to pay more for more climate-friendly food, particularly food produced without the use of fossil fuels. 

The crucial role of agriculture in food sustainability 

For the UK agriculture sector, reducing emissions while constantly increasing output to feed a growing population is a difficult balancing act. However, given that farmers manage over 71% of the UK’s land area, the sector has a crucial role to play in driving net zero plans and reducing emissions. 

Agricultural emissions make up 11% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions consist of 55% methane, 33% nitrous oxide, and 12% carbon dioxide. All of these contribute to climate change, especially nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. One of the biggest sources of nitrous oxide emissions is fertiliser. 

Towards a more sustainable food future 

Improving agricultural productivity and efficiency while also reducing carbon footprint is possible. Increasing the use of organic manures is one way to do this. Fertiliser producers like Yara are leading the way by developing green fertilisers made from water and air, using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to help farmers and food companies reduce their climate impact. 

Helping consumers make better choices

Actively working to reduce emissions is only half of the story when it comes to food sustainability. Food producers need to make it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices when buying food. In the Yara survey, 72% of UK consumers felt that it wasn’t easy to tell whether food was truly climate friendly and indicated that they’d like to see information regarding the products carbon footprint on the label. 


Sustainable food survey 2022, Yara/IPSOS

Defra. Agriculture in the UK Evidence Pack – September 2022 update

Defra. Agri-climate report 2022

Inside Climate News, September 2019


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