Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sustainable Cooking – an imperative solution for the food security challenge

 For thousands of years, cooking has been an integral part of our existence since we learned the application of fire. Over these countless years, cooking has evolved to define our culture, health, and agriculture. In this age of digitization and automation cooking remains one of our core activities -either as a food processing industry or restaurant or cloud kitchen or home cooking. Thus, cooking is a core activity of our existence. It is also one of the most effective ways to address climate change impacts related to food security, fuel availability, nutrition, water management, and agriculture. Cooking is central to numerous aspects of sustainability. It is one single human activity which gives a tremendous opportunity to every individual- rich or poor, educated or uneducated to contribute positively towards achieving sustainability.

Food Security Challenge:

Nearly 800[1] million people go hungry every day around the world, more than 2 billion lack the nutrients required for a healthy life, and one-third of the global population is expected to be overweight or obese by 2030, according to the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. By 2050 the world population will rise to 9 billion people.

Here is a comprehensive picture of the challenge that we face regarding access to clean cooking. 

Access to Clean Cooking

Climate change will make the task of feeding this large population challenging. Unpredictable droughts and floods, erratic temperature changes will largely impact agricultural produce.

With growing urbanization, arable land will reduce largely. Increased air, water, and soil pollution will adversely impact the quality and quantity of arable land.

Cooking is an important decision-making step between the production and consumption of food. This important step can help us address the food security challenge.

The following elements of sustainable cooking help us to address climate change with our individual efforts. When each one who cooks and consumes food, consciously integrates these elements then collectively we can address one of the most urgent challenges i.e Food Security.


  • ·       Giving preference to green fuels like bioenergy and solar energy for cooking, drying, and even cooling whenever possible.
  • ·       Selection of efficient cookstoves as per buying capacity
  • ·       Keeping the right balance between plant-based and animal-based diet. Overindulgence of both or total abstinence from either would have impending consequences on food availability and health.
  • ·       Using as many as locally grown food ingredients. The travel and growth emissions of food ingredients have to be minimum. Growing a few vegetables and fruits would be an added advantage considering the health and hygiene aspects as well.
  • ·       Cooking traditional and seasonal cuisines is an important step towards reducing storage and preservation-related energy emissions.
  • ·       Keeping a check on food wastage is quantitatively the most impactful ways of addressing the food security challenge. Processing leftovers by composting or converting into new dishes is one effective way everyone can contribute towards this step. Sharing food and food ingredients will be an added advantage.
  • ·       Judiciously use the ready to eat and ready to cook food items, while keeping a check on the food budget and consumption balance.

 Let us start our sustainable cooking journey by integrating these elements into our cooking styles. Write to us at pournima@samuchit.com for more information on sustainable cooking activities.

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