The big food redesign

Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

This report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leader in circular economy thinking, looks at redesigning food and food systems to be more nature-positive. Because everything we eat is designed, from our favourite takeaways to the type of vegetables we buy in the supermarket, this is an opportunity to redesign the way we shop and eat.

Circular design for food demonstrates opportunities for companies to go beyond better sourcing (sourcing the same ingredients through regenerative practices) to fundamentally redesigning their product portfolios. This study explores a combination of four design opportunities where companies can take action: 

  1. Diverse ingredients: Using a greater diversity of animal and plant varieties and species as ingredients

  2. Lower impact ingredients: Simple swaps that have reduced environmental impacts, even when conventionally produced

  3. Upcycled ingredients: Transforming inedible food byproducts into new ingredients

  4. Regeneratively produced ingredients: Producing food in ways that have positive outcomes for nature. 

Currently, the food industry is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 50% of human-induced pressure on biodiversity, and across Europe and the UK, the top 10 fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs) and retailers influence about 40% of agricultural land. "Rather than bending nature to produce food, food can be designed for nature to thrive". The big food redesign explores how rethinking the ingredients they use and how they're produced, companies can provide choices that are better for customers, better for farmers, and better for the climate – while also halting 70% of biodiversity loss associated with the food sector (compared to business as usual).  

Read the full report and its accompanying resources here : The big food redesign: regenerating nature with the circular economy.

This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed