The Sustain Guide to Good Food

What you can do – and ask others to do – to help make our food and farming system fit for the future

Sustain’s working definition, developed in consultation with our membership of expert organisations, is that of "healthy and sustainable food" - in other words, good food - should be produced, processed, bought, sold and eaten in ways that:

In practice this means:

Download the Sustain Guide To Good Food

Download a fully referenced illustrated PDF version of the report.

Aiming to be waste-free

Reducing food waste (and packaging) saves the energy, effort and natural resources used to produce and dispose of it, as well as money.

Eating better, and less meat and dairy

Consuming more vegetables and fruit, grains and pulses, and smaller amounts of animal products produced to high-welfare and environmental standards helps reduce health risks and greenhouse gases.

Buying local, seasonal and environmentally friendly food

This benefits wildlife and the countryside, minimises the energy used in food production, transport and storage, and helps protect the local economy.

Choosing Fairtrade-certified products

This scheme for food and drinks imported from poorer countries ensures a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.

Selecting fish only from sustainable sources

Future generations will be able to eat fish and seafood if we act now to protect our rivers and seas and the creatures living there.

Getting the balance right

We need to cut down on sugar, salt and fat, and most of us want to avoid questionable ingredients and processes such as genetic modification (GM) and some additives.

Growing our own, and buying the rest from a wide range of outlets

Fresh out of the garden or allotment is unbeatable, and a vibrant mix of local markets, small shops and cafés, and other retailers provides choice, variety and good livelihoods.

As citizens we can take action on all these issues and every step in the right direction, no matter how small, is useful. But some vital measures are beyond our control, so businesses and governments need to take action too so that good food choices become the easiest ones to make (For an integrated examination of the role of business and policy makers see Beyond Business as Usual: Towards a sustainable food system, 2013. Food Ethics Council). Sustain has separate guidance tailored for businesses, and also runs campaigns to change policies and practices. Please join in and help create a food and farming system fit for the future.


We would welcome your feedback, and any contacts or information you might have.

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