France, Japan and Canada: the countries where people eat best
around the world.
The USA comes 11th.
and Saudi Arabia face the greatest food challenges.
MILAN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–France, followed by Japan and Canada are the top three countries in a
new index measuring food and nutrition sustainability across 25
countries, representing two thirds of the world’s population and 87% of
global GDP. These three nations achieved the best scores for the
production, distribution and consumption of food. Their agriculture is
the most sustainable, food waste is lowest (including thanks to
innovative policies to combat food) and where diets are the most
balanced, without excesses or deficiencies, mindful of people’s health
and the planet’s wellbeing. France takes first place above in part due
to its innovative policies to fight food waste and the balanced diets of
its population. Japan and Canada come second and third by virtue of
their policies regarding sustainable agriculture and the widespread
adoption of healthy balanced diets.
In the global ranking of the most virtuous countries, the USA is in 11th
place. It owes its position to the efforts made on a national and local
level to tackle American’s unhealthy eating habits and its good
performance in terms of nutritional sustainability. Nevertheless, the
country has extremely high levels of food waste, both throughout the
production chain and during domestic consumption.
Countries that score lowest are India, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and India
and Egypt face a double challenge of obesity and malnutrition. Their use
of resources (especially water) is also considered unsustainable, and
they are losing food at the pre-consumer level. India is in last place
in part because of its unsustainable management of water resources and
the inadequacies in Indian people’s diets: it has the highest percentage
of malnutrition among children aged under 5 years. Saudi Arabia and
Egypt are 24th and 23rd in the ranking respectively, largely due to
their excessive food waste and high levels of obesity.
The Food Sustainability Index (FSI) was, commissioned by the Barilla
Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation and carried out by The
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – the research arm of The Economist
Group. It is the only index of its kind and revolutionises the way we
look at food. For the first time, it provides an analysis of the world’s
food choices not simply based on “taste”, but also on the overall
sustainability of the food system. This in-depth analysis culminated in
a ranking of countries around the world which the food system is most
sustainable based on 58 criteria across three pillars: sustainable
agriculture, nutritional challenges and food waste. The objectives of
the FSI are to highlight the performance of various countries, establish
comparable measurement criteria, provide examples of best practice and
measure progress over time.
“The slogan chosen for this BCFN Forum is ‘Eat Better. Eat Less. Food
for All’ because it epitomises our view extremely concisely: if we eat
better, not only will our health benefit as a result, but so will the
wellbeing of the planet,” explains Guido Barilla, BCFN President.
“The Food Sustainability Index will help us to understand where
people eat the best around the world, not in terms of how good something
tastes, but in terms of the sustainability of the food system, helping
researchers and decision makers to understand where to focus research
and policy choices. In my view, Italian food is the best in the world in
terms of taste, but in terms of the food system, even though we are
quite high up, we still need to do better,” concludes Barilla.
USA in 11th place, but needs to focus on
obesity and food waste
The USA is faced with two urgent problems which it needs to address:
reducing food waste and lowering the number of Americans who are obese
or overweight. This situation means that the USA is third in the obesity
ranking, only behind countries in the Middle East. More specifically, in
the United Arab Emirates, 74% of the population is obese or overweight
(BMI above 25), followed by Saudi Arabia (69.6%), just ahead of the USA
(67.3%). The Food Sustainability Index also places the USA
second-to-last in the ranking for excessive eating and lack of physical
activity, and the country sinks to last place in the healthy food table.
As for food waste, San Francisco was identified as America’s best
performing city because, in recent years, it has stood out for having
launched an excellent system for sorting waste and recycling, food
education and the distribution of food banks. However, despite this
city’s success, it should also be highlighted that the USA throws away
around 46 million tonnes of food every year, with an average of around
40% being domestic waste, placing the country amongst the stragglers
when it comes to food waste.
About the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation
The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation is a
think-tank, founded in 2009, with the aim of analysing themes linked to
food and nutrition globally. Through a multidisciplinary approach, BCFN
analyses the cause and effect relationships between food and economic,
scientific, social and environmental factors. For more information: www.barillacfn.com;
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