Have you already eaten today? And what about your employees? This question might sound ridiculous to many since Europe is the “all-you-can-eat spot” for many. We all have our personal preferences in WHAT we consume and HOW we consume. Especially when it comes to the never-ending cycle of daily food consumption.

But who pays for it? Not just you. Because remember: 

There is always someone who has to pay for our comfort.

The earth provides for human needs that’s why the earth has to pay for our pleasure.

And this is where the topic of food sustainability (SDG 2) comes into discussion. Right now we are facing a global challenge: 

Problem: The Human population is consistently rising. Which means that food consumption is increasing while natural resources such as land, water, and biodiversity are limited. To put it into a simple formula:

Increase in human population + Increase in food consumption = impact on limited resources 

So how can we solve this problem?

Goal: The goal is to minimize the negative impacts food production brings while producing goods in a healthy, sustainable, and cost-effective way so that future generations still have enough resources to survive.

And this is what this blog post is all about.

This article will give you insights on:

  • What food sustainability is – and what it is not
  • Why your business should care and how this can make a difference in your local community 
  • Who the leading food sustainability practitioners are and what you can learn from them

What is food sustainability?

In simple terms food sustainability” refers to the management of natural resources in a way that protects the climate, water, animals, health of humans, and biodiversity. This will ensure that humans can be sufficiently fed with the resources that our planet is providing. Sustainable food covers both the ingredients in the food and the surrounding factors which come along the food production process. 

In practical terms:

  • Sustainable food considers the limited availability of natural resources and seeks to wisely use these resources for long-lasting impact through a zero-waste approach.
  • Sustainable food considers a safe and healthy environment for animals. This means that cows would have enough living space in nature, chickens are not stuck in the dark but rather living outside a farm, and workers would be treated fairly.
  • Sustainable food ensures enough nutrition, and is healthy for the human body to consume, without chemicals and with less processed ingredients. 

To give you a clear overview we could summarize this into four main categories:

How is the food…

  1. produced?
  2. distributed?
  3. packaged?
  4. consumed?

Overall, food that can be labelled as sustainable goes beyond the product itself. It is about the whole process around it. How do I get a banana from South America to Tesco in the UK? Where are the ingredients in my chocolate bar coming from and how are they produced?

But why should your business care?

Sustainable business practices can open up the door for many new partnerships, collaborations, and methods to create long-lasting impacts locally but also globally. 

Reasons to explain why your business should prioritize healthy food management are endless. First and foremost, by supporting the consumption of organic food among your employees, your company automatically reduces its carbon footprint. Second, serving healthy food in your canteen will result in healthier employees who in turn become more productive and deliver better end results for the business.

Overall, based on the saying “You are what you eat” – we can come to the conclusion that part of why your business is what it is today relates to what you and your team eat!

And now, as promised here are a few examples of sustainable practitioners you can learn from.

Who are the current leaders and what can you learn from them?

According to the global sustainability index, the following names represent the current pioneers and leaders in the food sustainability sector from different European countries. For this article, we selected three impactful brands that made a name for themselves. 

The vegetarian butcher

The Dutch food brand “The vegetarian butcher” has mastered the art of producing and selling vegetarian meat. If you enjoy eating meat, you can enjoy sustainable food “without compromising on taste or experience” This brand is a good example to prove how sustainable eating habits are not necessarily related to cutting off meat from your list. You can be part of the movement as a vegan, vegetarian, or meat lover. So, the message they are sending out to the public is that meat lovers can be included in the sustainability movement.


What can your business learn from them?

  • Don’t try to change people’s needs. Look for an existing need and channel it in the right direction. The love for animal products is not wrong. It only becomes a problem when we overconsume. This brand understood how to solve the problem of unhealthy amounts of meat consumption sustainably. As a business leader, company owner, or manager, you can let your employees get inspired through different dishes or make use of the resources they offer on their website. 
Albert Heijn 

The second brand and leader in the landscape of sustainability is the dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. “We want to make better food accessible to everyone”. With this in mind, the market aims at selling eco-friendly meals and products starting with partnerships at the start of the food supply chain. This means that together with their partners, Albert Heijn invest in the welfare of animals, biodiversity, and the climate. All while selling their food at a reasonable price and at the highest possible quality.


What can your business learn from them?

  • Sustainability strategies come in different shapes and forms. Your business can be part of the movement by ensuring less food waste. Albert Heijn has different partnerships and together in a team of like-minded individuals they are pushing towards the same goal. You can do the same. What partnerships can you make that contribute to the vision of making this planet a better home for everyone?

Another interesting company to look at is the Norwegian milk production “Q-Meieriene”. With “14,000 cows” and “75 farmers”, the farm ensures not only healthy milk production but also offers various milk products as seen in the picture below. Moreover, another plus point this brand provides is its transparency in food production. On their website you can access all the relevant information about food production and cows’ wellbeing.


What can your business learn from them?

  • Transparency and diversity in simplicity are key. Nowadays, people can find all information online. What is your business doing about this? How are you using it to your own advantage? You can have one product (or service) and diversify it into different outcomes. If milk can produce ice, yogurt, milkshakes, etc., how can the one thing you offer be diversified into different end results that keep sustainability at the core?


You just learned from three different examples, what eco-friendly food practices can look like when put into action. You could either use the principles behind their success to inspire your employees to make conscious food choices or simply learn from them and try to apply some of these best practices to your own business.

With this in mind: Learn from leaders and watch your business thrive.

But that’s not all. 

If you want to take immediate action on the insights you just learned and this topic speaks to your heart, drop us a note. We can help your business identify your key Sustainable Development Goals and prioritize partnerships that are truly strategic for your company and all your stakeholders. 

Let us know in the comments below:

  • What is the one thing you would like to improve in your business?
  • Is there any information you were missing?
  • Maybe you know something we have not mentioned. We would love to read your thoughts on the current (food) sustainability discussion.