Introducing: Foodsteps, Leaders in Climate-smart Eating
2nd Jun, 2021
Introducing: Foodsteps, a platform revolutionising the food industry with environmental impact assessments and sustainability solutions for food businesses like TYME. We sat down with Anya Doherty, Founder & CEO of Foodsteps to find out more:
Q: What do you and the team at Foodsteps do?
At Foodsteps, we’ve developed a software platform to allow food businesses, like Tyme, to rapidly and accurately measure and reduce the carbon footprint of their food. They can then communicate their impact transparently to customers via our carbon footprint labels.
All 8 of us at Foodsteps are passionate about enabling businesses and consumers alike to make climate-smart choices when it comes to food. We’ve combined our technical expertise in environmental sciences, software development and food systems to build our food impacts platform.
Q: Why is understanding the connection between sustainability and food so important?
Food production accounts for approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater extraction and is the leading driver of natural habitat loss around the world. Clearly, the way we produce and consume food is critical to the future of the planet.
Food systems must be adapted in order to limit their impact on the environment, without compromising on health and nutrition. Our mission is about bringing environmental impacts into the DNA of food companies, in the same way that costs and nutrition are widely tracked across the food system.
Q: What is climate-smart eating?
Climate-smart eating refers to foods that are produced and consumed within our planetary boundaries. The planetary boundary for climate change is defined by a global carbon budget, as set out in the Paris Agreement, whereby global warming must be limited to no more than 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Our carbon label helps consumers to choose climate-smart foods by highlighting items with a ‘Very Low’ or ‘Low’ carbon footprint.
Q: How do you accurately calculate food sustainability?
Foodsteps uses leading life cycle assessment (LCA) data to calculate the carbon footprint of food at each stage of an ingredient’s life cycle. This includes farming, packaging, processing, transport, retail, consumption and waste. We calculate the carbon footprint using region specific impact factors, for example allowing British food companies to use carbon footprint data for food items purchased and consumed in the UK.
Q: Do you have any insider tips for how our readers can reduce their food impact?
While we maintain an open philosophy around food, adopting a more plant-rich diet will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your footprint. Additionally, making sure food is seasonal can help to reduce impacts quite substantially.
We’d also recommend taking some time to look into the impacts of the food you eat - studies show that people consistently underestimate the environmental impacts of their food! There are some great resources to learn more, like Our World In Data, and we’ll be posting more about the impacts of different food types on the Foodsteps Instagram page.
Limiting your food waste is another big factor - or where you do have waste, composting at home offers a great climate-friendly alternative.