Every time you shop, make a sustainable choice

A new digital campaign for the promotion of Sustainable Consumption has launched within the framework of the EU-funded COVCHEG project implemented in partnership with Azerbaijan Tourism Board.

Every time we shop, remember that our individual choices can have a positive influence on the global food production system.

In effect, the global food production system is based on intensive agriculture, which relies on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to produce highly processed, calorie-dense foods packed with additives, preservatives, sugars, and saturated fats. This is creating imbalances in environmental, economic, and social dynamics, particularly in more vulnerable countries, generating many public health problems.

But it’s not difficult to do right choices: it is enough to start from the assumption that consumption practices are closely interconnected with production practices. It is enough to understand that small sizes, local producers, strict animal welfare criteria and so on will never be able to satisfy increasingly high levels of consumption, all the more so if they are associated with the claim of paying little for what we are about to put on our plates.

In this framework, the COVCHEG project in Azerbaijan has launched a new digital campaign dedicated to responsible consumption, trying to help citizens make informed choices during their weekly shopping trip.

On its social pages, Slow Food in Azerbaijan will provide useful advices, once a week, on how to change one’s habits and change the food system in small doses, with less impact on the environment.

Since years, Slow Food is working to promote production, processing, and consumption models that are as sustainable and healthy as possible for both individuals and the planet. In the collective imagination, a healthy diet is often associated with privation, calorie restriction, and monotony. In reality, eating can easily be healthy and enjoyable at the same time.

The food that’s good for us is also good for the environment and the community.

But how can we eat well every day? We don’t have to invent anything new; all we have to do is look to our rich gastronomic traditions and start changing our habits from the easiest choices. For example:

  1. Avoid meat from intensive farms and choose meat produced according to high welfare standards, you will already have done a lot. Increase your consumption of pulses and vegetables too. Substitute meat with tasty seasonal foods and you won’t miss it much.
  2. Distrust significantly low prices, because they are often an indication of low-quality, exploitation, hidden costs that impact the environment or terrible work conditions in farms.
  3. Remember that local is better. When you buy meat, always check its origin and avoid imported products. Get to know your local area and find out which vegetables, fruits, animal breeds, breads, cured meats and traditional sweets are produced nearby.
  4. Read labels carefully as they provide useful information on the type of meat. If you don’t have time to read, ask the producers for information on the products you are buying.
  5. Don’t fill up your fridge. When buying fresh meat, limit your purchase to what you will be consuming in the short term. In general, food waste has reached frightening proportions: one third of all food produced in the world is wasted.
  6. Be curious. Ask for quality products and encourage your retailers to supply products of high quality. Allow yourself a trip to a farm, every now and then where possible.
  7. Choose foods produced with respect for the environment. Our food choices are the most effective tool available to us for protecting not just pollinators, but the environment in general. Responsible consumers are those who are aware of the consequences of their choices. Be careful to choose foods that respect the environment (without polluting or over-exploiting resources), animal welfare, and the wellbeing of producers.

With the financial support of the European Union, through the COVCHEG project, Slow Food, in partnership with the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, is working to safeguard local biodiversity, develop sustainable local value chains and promote gastronomic tourism as an additional source of revenue for more resilient rural communities in Azerbaijan. Working closely with local authorities, civil society groups, and other stakeholders, the EU-Azerbaijan partnership will share EU best practices and experience on local identities and gastronomy as well as the conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage in the area.