Future Food Movement Roundtable Recap

At the end of September, tfp Director Charles Banks joined a Future Food Movement panel with a range of leading voices from across the industry to discuss food's role in global climate moments. This hugely insightful conversation discussed how changing our global food system is one of the most impactful things we can do to address climate change, create healthy lives, and rebuild biodiversity.

Panellists on the day included Carolyn Ball, Director of Net Zero, Compass Food Group UUK & I; Patrick Coveney, Group CEO, SSP Food Travel Experts; Peter Harrison, CCO, Quorn Foods; James Waddy, Category Director Dairy, Bakery &B Local, Tesco; Carl Olivier, Co-founder, Sustained; Eve Turow-Paul, Founder and Executive Director, Food for Climate League; and David Moore, Group Head of ESG, The Compleat Food Group.

To round-up some of the main discussions from the session, we've collated some of the key take outs and recommendations.

1. Be Brave

Food companies need to be brave and prepared to take risks, keeping in mind that risks taken now will mitigate greater climate-related threats in the future.

2. Tap Into Voracious Curiosity

Consumers are interested in sustainable diets and they want to make good choices, but there are obstacles that exacerbate an overall intention-behaviour gap. Addressing these barriers will help to create a frictionless environment in which consumers can explore products they might not usually buy.

3. Put A Climate Lens On Food Design To Make Choices More Sustainable By Default

Most of the carbon emitted by the food industry comes from ingredients, so significant sustainability achievements can be made in product composition and formulation – long before the consumer is involved.

4. Meet People Where They Are

The narrative around climate smart food needs to be positive and focus on choice and abundance, rather than restriction and sacrifice.

5. Eco-Labelling Is Not Just About Consumers

Eco-labelling will challenge companies to continually improve their formulations and provide a yardstick for comparison with other brands. As major retailers ramp up their sustainability operations, they will use eco-labelling to decide which products to stock, which will in turn push food companies to be more sustainable.

6. Build On Existing Food Cultures

Discussions around sustainable food often lack diversity. 'Climate-smart' diets that are built on local, in-season produce and minimal meat consumption have long been the cultural norm in many places around the world – in these areas, the sustainability credentials of food is simply incidental.

7. Push For Regulatory Change

Consumer education won't work on its own and needs to go hand-in-hand with business initiatives and government regulation. The industry's successes around removing salt and sugar, and increased awareness of calories, demonstrates what is possible when “morals, markets and mouths meet".

Charles' parting comment to summarise his opinion on the day was, "Ultimately, we need teams of people - those chefs, technologists, developers, marketers and purchasing managers - to be upskilled, qualified and experienced to apply that climate impact lens to their role so that we can channel future innovation in product processes, in sourcing and so on to be climate positive."


Future Food Movement is on a mission to connect and inspire the food and drink industry to work towards a climate-smart future. Find out more at futurefoodmovement.com.