Environmental concerns of food management    Play Audio
Module 1, Unit 5, Level: Advanced

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Environmental concerns

Environment, production, sustainable consumption, environmental footprint, water footprint, local food, environmental impact, greenhouse gases waste



Environmental concerns of food management
Food production and consumption have a negative effect on the environment: each food product requires water, energy and other resources to produce it and moreover, it also generates greenhouses gas emissions (see Module 1, Unit 5, basic).

Thus, the management of food products (from their selection to their preparation, display, and preservation) must be studied and considered to minimize its environmental impact.

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A shift to a sustainable food system can bring environmental, health and social benefits, as well as offer fairer economic gains.

Some measures applicable to all companies in the food manufacturing sector to improve their environmental performance are mentioned below:

• Performing an environmental sustainability assessment of products and/or operations through life-cycle assessment (LCA) tools.

• Shifting towards more efficient transport and logistics operations to reduce greenhouse emissions.

• Managing the supply chain by choosing ingredients or raw materials which are environmentally friendly (limiting fertilisers and pesticides, sustainable water sourcing, etc.).

• Improving or selecting packaging to minimise environmental impact (for example by using eco-design tools, light-weighting packaging, packaging that can be recycled, refills and returnable packaging, etc.).

• Reducing food waste generation at the production facility, reducing overproduction, and raising awareness among staff and customers.
Representative Products
As mentioned before, food companies need to adopt techniques, measures and actions to reduce the environmental and climate footprint of food management.

Since some companies and manufactures can still be reluctant to invest in environmental management systems or to incorporate environmental improvements all along the value chain of their products, new strategies and legislation need to be developed to help companies to overcome barriers.

Consumers have also a great influence on corporate environmental strategies of food companies. This raises the issue of the willingness to pay more for green products as a risk. By making green choices when grocery shopping (choosing eco-labelled food products, with less packaging or avoiding buying unnecessary foods to cut back on food waste), we as consumers, will help to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system.
Further references
Farm to Fork Strategy - EU Green Deal. European Union, 2020. Available at:
Best Environmental Management
Practice for the Food and Beverage
Manufacturing Sector. JRC Science for Policy Report. Available at:
The EU Ecolabel Product Catalogue. European Commission’s website. Available at:

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