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Fast moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs) and retailers have the power to make nature-positive food that’s good for farmers and business mainstream.
Leading FMCGs and retailers have substantial influence on the food system. In the EU and UK, for example, 40% of agricultural land is influenced by the top 10 FMCGs and retailers. Many of these players are currently part of the problem, but given their size and influence they can be, and need to be, part of the solution.
FMCGs and retailers design what we eat – how it looks, how it tastes, and how good it is for us and for nature. Combining the principles of with food design, they can design food for nature to thrive.
By rethinking the ingredients they use and how they're produced, they can provide choices that are better for customers, better for farmers, and better for the environment.
Today, just four crops provide 60% of the world’s calories, while many ingredients that could be used instead and have a lower impact are rarely used. A nature-positive food system requires a more diverse mix of plants and livestock and a better understanding of local contexts to function effectively.
Major FMCGs and retailers can catalyse this shift in the mix of crops and livestock at scale and pace by creating the demand for diverse ingredients, which most often means fundamentally redesigning their food product portfolios.
The big food redesign, shows that combining four ingredient selection and sourcing opportunities unlocks substantial environmental, economic, and yield benefits. It shows that circular design for food – which involves fundamentally redesigning product portfolios to use all the diverse food outputs of a nature-positive food system – offers significantly greater benefits than using the same ingredients as today, but sourcing them better through .
*On average for three modelled ingredients (per harvest for wheat and potatoes, and per year for dairy) in the UK and EU.
Create ambitious and well-resourced action plans to make nature-positive product portfolios a reality
Create a new collaborative dynamic with farmers
Develop iconic products to showcase the potential of circular design for food
Contribute to and use common on-farm metrics and definitions
Advocate for policies that support a nature-positive food system
This study looks at the role fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs) and food retailers can play to move us towards a food system with significant positive impacts for business, people, and the environment. It explores the ways in which food products can be designed in closer collaboration with farmers, for nature. It also investigates the crucial enabling role of policies and incentives.
To quote the study, please use the following reference: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The big food redesign: Regenerating nature with the circular economy (2021).