The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) has revealed the results of its Food Sustainability Index, indicating that France, Japan, and Canada are the countries where people eat most sustainably around the world. Out of 25 nations, these countries ranked the highest in sustainable food production, distribution, and consumption.
“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,” explained Guido Barilla, BCFN President in a press release.
The United States ranked 11th on the FSI, which uses 58 criteria including food waste, balanced diet, and general wellbeing of the population to measure food and nutrition sustainability in each individual country.
France’s first place spot comes in large part thanks to its innovative policies to fight food waste, including forcing supermarkets to donate food waste to charities and encouraging stores to sell "ugly" produce at a discounted rate.
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Japan and Canada ranked second and third in the Index thanks to policies regarding the democratization of sustainable agriculture and healthy diet.
While the United States has made strides in its efforts to tackle unhealthy eating habits, the Index showed that it still has a long way to go. The United States' obese and overweight populations are second only to certain countries in the Middle East. The United States also ranked second-to-last for excessive eating and lack of physical activity.
In addition, the United States continues to have very high levels of food waste, throwing away about 46 million tons of food every year.
Countries that scored the lowest on the FSI include India, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, due in large part to challenges in these nations that include obesity, malnutrition, and unsustainable water use.