Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Lifestyles and environmental impact are the subject of new studies that highlight the importance of introducing a new food culture, one of the goals of the Milan Protocol for Expo 2015

barillaTo coincide with the 9th International Life Cycle Assessment of Food Conference (LCA Food 2014) in San Francisco, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation has presented the latest update of its Double Food-Environmental Pyramid. The Double Pyramid demonstrates how the foods we should be eating more frequently for our own general well-being, are also those that have less impact on the environment.

In view of this, the BCFN Foundation has prepared weekly menus “using the Life Cycle Assessment” that indicate both nutritional values and environmental impact. The final goal is to demonstrate how we can all contribute to reducing this impact by making aware dietary choices. If, for example, we look at our weekly nutritional needs, it can be seen that by limiting animal protein consumption to twice a week, our environmental impact in terms of water and greenhouse gas emissions can be halved.

The promotion of healthy lifestyles is one of the goals of the Milan Protocol, the Agreement on Food and Diet to submit to the countries taking part in Expo 2015, which also draws everyone’s attention to other objectives, including the reduction of food wastage, the introduction of agricultural reforms, the fight against financial speculation and the promotion of sustainable agriculture: “Diet continues to be a key issue in the debate on the future of the planet, not least because of growing concern over the environmental impact deriving from the production, distribution and consumption of food,” comments Luca Ruini, an expert on the subject of environmental sustainability for the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation. It is primarily in this direction that we are working, with the aim of continuing to conduct studies that correlate nutritional intake with environmental impact and also cost, which represents an increasingly important factor in consumer choices.

In the lead up to National Overweight and Obesity Awareness Day tomorrow, 10 October, the studies conducted by the BCFN Foundation demonstrate how obesity, as well as being a serious illness we mustn’t underestimate, also incurs a cost for society. Which is why dietary education is so important in redefining the status quo: recent tests performed in America focus on the relationship between healthy eating and increased spending on food, to demonstrate how eating well can also be rewarded by economic benefits. To sum up, according to 15 studies on the cost of dieting in the USA, eating healthily doesn’t cost more (10 studies out of 15), but in fact saves a monthly average of $124.


When it comes to sustainable eating practices, work by the BCFN suggests that an eating pattern consistent with the Mediterranean diet helps to meet the first two, the health of man and the planet. What remains to be understood is if healthy eating can also be economically sustainable. As far as Italy is concerned, referring to the statistics of the Price Observatory of the Ministry for Economic Development, we find that following the indications of the food pyramid leads to a reduction in weekly food bills of around 10%. In other countries the findings are inconsistent: in the USA, for example, an animal protein-based diet can be cheaper, in France and the United Kingdom there is conflicting data (according to some studies the price of a sustainable diet is lower, in others higher). Despite these differences, it may still be possible to follow an eating pattern that is nutritionally balanced, has a low environmental impact and does not incur significant costs. In fact, if we choose the right foods carefully, it may be possible to save.

So, if we can eat in a way that is sustainable for the health of the planet, people and our wallets, why do we continue to eat such an unbalanced diet? Perhaps it is because the traditional family mealtime has changed — families have less time, and lack of knowledge in the kitchen — or due to lack of motivation.

The BCFN has identified four areas that can be used to disseminate information and promote the adoption of a balanced diet: advertising; social communication; foodservice (particularly school foodservice) and large scale retail chains. Join us for a discussion about cases and opportunities in these areas on 10 October for the next BCFN Talks webinar – “Good for you, good for the planet: food sustainability and health.” The event will include participation of Claude Fischler, Director of the Edgar Morin Centre and member of the BCFN Advisory Board, Barbara Burlingame, Principal Officer at the Food and Consumer Protection Division, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Adam Drewnowski, Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition and Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health of the University of Washington. The webinar will also present the fourth edition of the International Forum on Food & Nutrition to be held in Milan on November 28 and 29, 2012.

6th International Forum on Food and Nutrition

The 6th International Forum on Food and Nutrition promoted by the BCFN Foundation will be held in Milan on December 3rd and 4th 2014 at Bocconi University. Registrations are now being accepted to attend the discussion sessions on Thursday December 4.

The focus of the Forum will be around issues associated with food and sustainable agriculture, zero hunger and malnutrition, in relation to all the interrelated problems. The protagonist will be the Milan Protocol, the proposal for a global agreement on food to present to the governments of countries attending Expo 2015. The Forum has the goal of encouraging debate on the global issues relating to food and to stimulate awareness by generating concrete proposals for the future of people and our planet.

The important guests invited to this sixth edition of the Forum include:

Giuliano Pisapia “ Mayor, City of Milan
Livia Pomodoro “ President, Court of Milan
Donatella Bianchi “ Chairman, WWF Italy
Catherine Bertini “ Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and International Affairs at Syracuse University
Franco Sassi “ OECD, Health Division, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs
Ann Tutwiler “ Director General, Bioversity International
Guido Barilla “ Chairman, BCFN Foundation

The sessions on both days of the 6th Forum will be streamed live on www.barillacfn.com.

Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation

The Milan Protocol is an initiative of the BCFN – Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition – Foundation, a think tank with a multidisciplinary approach to the world of food and nutrition which establishes links between these and other related issues, including economics, medicine, nutrition, sociology and the environment. New BCFN Foundation Board members are Slow Food President Carlo Petrini, S&D Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament Paolo De Castro, and Bocconi Vice Rector for Development Alberto Grando. The body which oversees the work of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is the Advisory Board, the members of which include: Barbara Buchner, Senior Director of the Climate Policy Initiative Europe, Ellen Gustafson, a sustainable nutrition expert, Gabriele Riccardi, an endocrinologist, and Camillo Ricordi, a scientist at the University of Miami, who were joined in 2013 by Riccardo Valentini, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Director of the Climate Impacts Division of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change, and Danielle Nierenberg, an expert in sustainable agriculture and co-founder of FoodTank: the Food Think Tank.

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