When WWF starts partnering with a Unilever company to investigate what a future balanced diet looks like, you want to be paying attention. Among the more fascinating things in a rapidly changing world is the rise of partnerships that would once have been laughable. Earlier this year Unilever company Knorr, partnered with WWF to publish a simply presented, but well researched document called 50 Foods for Healthier People and a Healthier Planet.The document is well researched and it really is an incredibly useful reference. The idea was to give anyone who cares, five steps to identify healthy future foods with:
In summary, the list of 50 foods, includes:
For both environmental and health reasons, there is a pressing need to vary the types of grains and cereals grown and eaten. The inclusion of a variety of sources of carbohydrates supports the ambition to enable a shift towards a greater variety of nutritious foods.
Plant-based protein sources are included to support a shift towards eating more plants and fewer animals. Beans and legumes also enrich the soil in which they are grown and support the recovery of land as part of crop rotation.
With very few exceptions, most people around the world do not get the recommended amount of at least 200 grams (or three servings) of vegetables per day. Vegetables are nutrient packed and can easily and affordably be added to commonly consumed meals.
Mushrooms are included because of their nutritional benefits and unique ability to grow in areas unsuitable for other edible plants. Their texture and umami flavour enable them to be adequate meat alternatives.
Nuts and seeds serve as plant-based sources of protein and fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) which can support a transition away from meat-based diets while ensuring optimum nutrition. They can be added to a wide variety of dishes for extra crunch and a nutrient boost.
Most calories consumed are from savoury meals. To make the greatest impact on global food choices, the foods in this list can all be used in savoury meals.
The fact that Unilever is one of the world's most reliable sources of research on sustainable production and trends also might seem far fetched on first glance, but it's no accident that Unilver is all over the future of food and sustainability. They are literally following the money. (Last week, USA's biggest mild producer, Dean Foods also followed the money and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as more and more consumers are simply drinking way less dairy milk and private label products are on the rise.)