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Saving the world one bite at a time: Going green with your diet

Seeking out sustainability on your plate has never been easier.

Saving the world one bite at a time: Going green with your diet

Whether it's preparing dinner yourself or dining out, eco-friendly eating doesn't have to be punishing. Photo: Shutterstock

Singaporeans love to eat, and so the word diet may ruffle some feathers, but there are types of eating habits that are less about losing weight and more about reducing one’s carbon footprint.

Adopting a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet has a tremendous impact on sustainability, primarily because farming fish and seafood is more land-efficient and lessens use of precious resources.

But even if you’re not a full convert, there are plenty of ways you can attempt a greener diet.

RETHINKING THE FOOD CHAIN

Existing farming systems have proven to be resource guzzlers, with rampant over-farming and unchecked demand turning it into the antithesis of what it once was. The agriculture industry is tipped to contribute up to 70 per cent of the world’s emissions by 2050.

Industrial livestock farming, in particular, has made a bigger impact with issues from heat-trapping gases 80 times that of carbon dioxide emitted from methane-producing cows, to heavy water consumption for rearing poultry. It also turns out to be an immensely inefficient use of land, and turns fertile land useless for future farming, costing environmental damage of up to US$3 trillion (S$4.04 trillion) every year.

While far from a solution, adopting a “leafier” diet can help to alleviate the impact that the farming industry has on the environment. Plant agriculture is far more efficient and feeds more, and uses less land and water while emitting less pollution.

It’s also healthier for you. Harvard’s School of Public Health states that “a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can reduce appetite”.

But adopting such a diet need not be an all or nothing effort. If you're interested in making a change, start with a flexitarian diet by reducing meats such as red meat and poultry, and taking only fish, before giving a completely plant-based diet a try. With our diets amounting to 40 per cent of our carbon footprint, every little bit matters.

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In addition to its juices, Farmz also sells plant-based milk, perfect for the lactose-intolerant. Photo: Farmz


If you’re looking for a place to start, Farmz has detox juices, breads, soups and sauces to kickstart your journey, and with the promo code HSBCFARMZ10, enjoy 10 per cent off its juice collection and free delivery with orders from S$80 onwards.
 

LEVEL UP YOUR PLATE

If you think a sustainable diet is boring, think again. Changing this mindset is One Planet Plate an association that’s championing mindful produce decisions with its resources and delicious recipes. And yes, sustainable meat options are available too.

Because it makes sense to cultivate better food habits at its root, making small conscious decisions from the kitchen can have a big impact. For example, buying from locally-farmed produce cuts back extensively on carbon footprint from imports, and in Singapore, one can find them conveniently labelled with a red SG Fresh sticker at major supermarkets.

Food wastage is also a huge problem here. 665,000 tonnes of food waste was generated in 2020, accounting for 11 per cent of the waste stream. Other than heading out less for buffets, one can also include “ugly produce”. With hypermarts, visual merchandising glorifies unblemished produce, which is why businesses like Ugly Food is reclaiming the idea that fruits and vegetables with some marks are just as safe – and sometimes even tastier – to eat. Have a go with its bundles of vegetables and fruits and take 10 per cent off with your HSBC credit card when you enter HSBCxUF.

A BETTER GROCER

If you’re inspired to go even further, delve a little more into the supply chain itself. Sasha's Fine Foods makes it easy to shop ethically. The brand is the purveyor of produce by growers who are mindful of their environmental impact.

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Sasha’s Fine Foods is on a mission to be the most planet-positive and sustainable online grocer in Singapore. Photo: Sasha's Fine Foods


“I started this business because I found it very difficult to buy food staples I could trust,” explained Ms Sasha Conlan, founder and director of the grocer. “From day one, I made the decision that I would only sell products from suppliers I have personally met and vetted, and who share my vision to provide customers with the purest food on the planet. In the past 10 years, we’ve grown to working with over 50 producers and suppliers I trust, people who do the right thing and have a genuine care for the animals and the environment.

The company is Singapore’s first online grocer to have a carbon-neutral delivery fleet. Currently, it has also reduced 88 per cent of its carbon emissions from New Zealand shipments that are transported via sea freight. As an advocate for environmental issues, the company has also recently joined Singapore’s F&B Sustainability Council, an organisation of like-minded F&B players dedicated to tackling environmental issues in the industry.

As you shop through an abundant array of sustainable meats, meat-alternatives, fruit and vegetables and other quality produce and specialty items, remember to apply HSBC-SFF when you checkout with your HSBC credit cards to enjoy 15 per cent off as a new customer.

RISING RESTAURANT TRENDS

With growing sentiments to make better food choices for the planet, restaurants are also making a stand with eco-conscious menus that reflect this sustainable movement.

Family-friendly Swensen’s has introduced meat-alternative options with its Impossible Burger set, and with if you’re an HSBC card holder, get 25 per cent off the set, applicable at any of the 22 outlets island-wide.

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At Swensen's, you can even customise your own Impossible burger. Photo: Swensen's


Over at Peppermint, you’ll find the Instagrammable restaurant matches up the garden-in-a-hotel theme at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, with an outdoor terrace urban farm where the kitchen sources its incredibly fresh greens, herbs and edible flowers. The menu also boasts plant-based options, with produce from sustainable and local sources. As you indulge, sit pretty with 15 per cent off your bill when you use your HSBC cards.

Live and eat more consciously with the HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card and enjoy 5 per cent off on your dining. Also earn up to S$200 cashback while forming sustainable habits when you sign up for a HSBC credit card, now made from 85.5 per cent recycled printing and packaging waste.

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