Sustainable food for The Hague

The foundation Duurzaam Den Haag was commissioned by The Hague municipality to provide clarity about how to make the food consumed in The Hague more sustainable. Duurzaam Den Haag therefore asked CE Delft to investigate the following three aspects:

  • Which channels do residents of The Hague use to get their food delivered?
  • Which types of food consumed in The Hague cause the most pressure on the environmental?
  • What is needed to make The Hague’s food consumption more sustainable?

The following are the key aspects of this study:

  • 70% of food is purchased from supermarkets. This is also the main buying channel in The Hague, alongside specialist shops (12%) and catering establishments (12%).
  • 85% of the climate impact of our food is caused by animal products (meat, cheese and dairy). Replacing part of our animal protein consumption with plant proteins (legumes, meat substitutes, bread, etc.) is the most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of food.
  • Avoiding vegetables grown in gas-heated greenhouses or vegetables imported by plane is the second major option to work towards sustainability.
  • Preventing food loss also helps reduce the environmental impact of our food.

We have the following main recommendations for making food consumption more sustainable in The Hague:

  1. Implement a protein transition project together with supermarkets to shift away from the current consumption of mainly animal protein (60%) towards increased consumption of vegetable protein (40% animal, 60% vegetable in the Netherlands). This could tie in with the intentions expressed by a number of supermarkets.
  2. Implement a protein transition project together with local catering establishments.
  3. Introduce an ‘Eating well and sustainably with little money’ training.
  4. Give local food initiatives more space, based on the Environment Act (Omgevingswet).
  5. Implement a project on external costs in catering (making sustainable food cheaper and unsustainable food more expensive).

Encourage more municipalities to introduce Ecoscore, as developed in France, for products in supermarkets.