How FOOD·E is planning to change the food system using a ‘foodprint’ calculator

by Marina Baptista Rosa

FOOD·E is a startup working to inform the public on the environmental impact of their food options. The project was created by Atli Sævar, a software engineer from Iceland who is as passionate about coding as they are about changing the world. 

Atli was concerned by the huge amount of negative impacts our global food production system has on the environment, and the fact that people were not sufficiently talking nor doing much about this. FOOD·E was created to challenge this reality by linking our food choices directly to their respective ecological impacts in a very visual way.

We are now a small community of slightly over twenty volunteers from different parts of the world, including India, Brazil, France, Italy, the UK, and the USA. We contribute to the project through all sorts of activities, ranging from software and business development, to translations and content writing. Despite our different backgrounds, we all have in common a passion for taking better care of our beautiful planet.

Through our ‘foodprint’ calculator, we provide reliable information for consumers to make informed ethical decisions on what and where to eat. The information is based on a Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of land use, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and eutrophying emissions.

Just like food labels inform consumers about Recommended Daily Amounts of calories and nutrients, FOOD·E provides references of how much impact on the planetary finite resources a meal has. We do this by using an index we named ‘Daily Earth Share’ (DES), which calculates a daily reference for each type of footprint in a giver meal, based on its ingredients. Each ‘Daily Earth Share’ represents the daily limit that all human beings should be respecting to avoid making the situation even worse.

This technology enables restaurants, home cooks, food bloggers, and producers of ready meals to evaluate their own recipes’ environmental impacts. The results are then displayed in simple pie-charts that they can share on their websites and social media or printed on their menus, food labels, posters, under the principle  that people would choose environmentally friendlier meals more often if they were aware of the impacts their food choices have on the planet. With FOOD·E we are trying to raise and diffuse this awareness.

Atli developed the idea that was deployed in May 2020 as a proof of concept. FOOD·E has since then been under active development, and in August 2020, the user signup function and database storage were introduced. The project is still young, but it is growing fast thanks to the hard work and passion of our team. Hopefully very soon it will be helping even more customers to make food choices that are better for our planet.

The good news is that public awareness of environmental issues has never been higher. In virtually all sectors, people are increasingly looking for more eco-friendly alternatives. Imagine how much impact we could have on food markets systems using only our voices and the power of consumer demand. FOOD·E is trying to help us take this forward.

Marina is a masters student majoring in climate change law.  As a UK-based Brazilian studying in Finland, she is fond of exploring innovative climate solutions that bring together people from all parts of the world in the process. She is also a strong believer in individual contribution. 

Categories Projects and Initiatives

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