With sustainability high on the agenda this year for many Brits, many UK supermarkets are implementing additional sustainability measures this autumn, particularly in the run-up to COP26 climate talks.
However, a shocking 74% of Brits are still unsure how to identify sustainable products and activations when shopping in store.
Accounting for all autumnal produce, Brits should look to purchase fruit and vegetables grown closer to home, to reduce the significant food miles and lower your carbon footprint simultaneously.
In a bid to improve sustainability, Sainsbury’s announced this week that it will be eliminating 15 tonnes of plastic from their range and encouraging shoppers to compost their leftover vegetables. While Tesco is launching a new pilot scheme called loop, to encourage Brits to buy products in reusable packaging that can be returned to store when finished.
And with more people home cooking this year, Brits should be encouraged to purchase an array of seasonal ingredients this autumn, utilising pumpkins, mushrooms, carrots and squash in a range of warming dishes.
However, recent research commissioned by the UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers found that 24 per cent of respondents rarely or never consider how environmentally friendly the food they eat is.
What’s more, the research shockingly revealed that over 50% of Brits think the seasonal pumpkin is unsustainable, while 45% believe mushrooms are not environmentally friendly at all.
Contrary to these beliefs, pumpkin production is a sustainable process, with no significant damage to air, water, land, soil or forests . This being said, many pumpkins are still wasted after Halloween takes place, with over 18,030 tonnes discarded in London alone last year.
This year, it is estimated that 95% of pumpkins are destined to be carved into decorative lanterns, with only around 5% of them used as ingredients in recipes.
Brits are unaware how simple it is to recycle pumpkins (even the parts you wouldn’t normally eat!) This includes the seeds, pulp and tough outer skin, which can all be recycled with practically no effort.
What’s more, leftover pumpkins can be conveniently utilised in a range of recipes, helping to minimise food waste and create warm, autumnal dishes for all the family.
Meanwhile, purchasing British and Irish produce such as mushrooms, instead of imported counterparts can help to keep food miles down while reducing carbon footprint.
In fact, The UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers provide enough mushrooms to supply the whole of the UK’s supermarkets; available 52 weeks of the year.
Opting for local, seasonal produce is key, no matter where you are situated globally, so Brits can reduce their carbon footprint while supporting local businesses and farmers at the same time.