FOOD IS A CONVERSATION
THE ROLE OF FOOD AND CONSCIOUS NUTRITION
The current health emergency has drawn a dividing line between the pre- and post-Covid-19 world, reshaping daily habits and encouraging citizens, industries and companies to take on a different approach.
In this context, Barilla, the world’s leading pasta producer, aims to develop and share a new perspective on the role that food can play not only in global challenges but also in people’s lives.
Barilla has decided to embark on this journey together with two special partners, namely Food For Soul, a nonprofit organisation founded by three-Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore, and the Future Food Institute, an international network of food specialists and innovators, led by expert Sara Roversi. We have taken a path that includes meetings, conversations, courses and opportunities for discussion with experts, which will end with the celebrations of the upcoming World Pasta Day, scheduled for 25 October 2020.
Barilla’s main target audience is the world of young people, the new generations whose actions are essential in defining and building a future based on more responsible food choices.
The first event scheduled, organised by the Future Food Institute, held on Thursday, 18 June on the occasion of the Sustainable Gastronomy Day, extensively covered the topic of food also by celebrating the 10th anniversary since the Mediterranean Diet was recognised by UNESCO as part of its “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Speakers included Dondeena Bradley – Global Vice President Nutrition and Wellbeing at Barilla Group, Sara Roversi – founder of the Future Food Institute, Sophie Egan – author of the book “How to be a conscious eater”, and Peter Klosse – founder of TASTE, The Academy for Scientific Taste Evaluation.
“Due to COVID-19, we are at an unprecedented time in history, which is making us renew and rethink our approach to food. This is why we are committed, together with FAO, to fostering programmes that focus on redesigning a more balanced, inclusive and decentralised food system that avoids waste and prevents malnutrition. Humanity will be able to adapt to major changes by harnessing the power of partnerships, thus intervening in areas where institutions are proving to be inadequate or almost absent. This is exactly what we are doing with partners such as Barilla, who make consumer well-being a top priority in their business decisions,’ Sara Roversi pointed out, also stressing the fact that awareness can help us to tackle future challenges.
In her speech, which began with her book to illustrate the relationship between the importance of choosing the food we eat every day and our planet’s well-being, Sophie Egan also focused on the theme of awareness: “We need to get in the mindset that what is good for us, for our body and mind, can play an even more important role and be good for others, for animals and for our planet as a whole. This is why it is essential to know where the food we eat comes from, and how it is produced and processed.’
In fact, Egan talks about a “holistic” approach. ‘ Taking care of ourselves and of our planet also involves radically changing the way we think, but we should not seek perfection as we could end up following a strict set of dietary rules that takes away the pleasure of eating.’
In addition, Sophie Egan highlighted the need to raise awareness among institutions in order to make it easier for companies to move in the right direction and, consequently, to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions: ‘Barilla has succeeded in making a substantial contribution, especially since it is the forerunner of the Double Food Pyramid model, among others, which is a representation of the concepts “Good for you, Good for the Planet”, now more real than ever.’
Dondeena Bradley also touched upon the impact that corporate choices and individual lifestyles have on our planet and on pollution. ‘For many years now, Barilla has been committed to encouraging healthy eating habits, which has proved to be crucial in influencing people’s eating choices, inspired by principles such as sustainability and quality.’ Bradley mentioned these two meaningful concepts to point out an important difference in terms of approach and awareness: the ability to distinguish between “wellness”, which is what one has to do to feel good, and “wellbeing”, which describes the ability to feel good.
‘Eating differently and making different choices allows us to grow and evolve,’ Peter Klosse added. ‘We cannot impose strict rules to follow without taking into account the taste, conviviality and inspiration that gastronomy has to offer.’ Without the emotions and benefits that food brings, there can be no change. In short, it is what I call the CAT formula: Convenient, Affordable, Tasty. From this perspective, the role of cooking and gastronomy must be that of a collector, to help people understand, know and be ready for change.