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UK fifth in food sustainability table

France, 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.

The UK comes a respectable fifth overall, with a score of 63.87 out of 100; France scored 67.53. However, the UK is nineteenth when it comes to levels of food waste, making it Europe’s worst offender, according to the new Food Sustainability Index.

“France tops the FSI ranking overall, largely supported by its holistic policy response to food waste and the high nutrition levels enjoyed by its population,” authors of the accompanying whitepaper noted.

Commissioned by the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the index provides an analysis of the world’s food choices not simply based on “taste”, but also on the overall sustainability of its food system. The result is a map of the most sustainable food systems based on 58 criteria across three pillars: sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food waste.

The index places the UK among the best countries for its responsible management of cultivable land and in first position for research and development in the agricultural sector, but it still faces many challenges. For instance, it is the worst country (among the 25 analysed) when it comes to the impact of agriculture on climate change.

The UK is also one of the worst offenders for food waste, but does well in relation to food labelling. “One policy that has produced excellent results is the traffic light labelling system, putting it in fourth place for the physical activity carried out by the population,” the Foundation noted.