Did you know there are up to 50,000 edible plant species in the world? And yet just three of them -– wheat, rice and maize – make up 60% of the plant-based calories we put on our plates. Relying on such a small amount of foods is not just a shame for our taste buds, it is also harmful for the planet, and we are missing out on the opportunity to get important nutrients.

To meet the demand for this narrow range of foods, farmers plant the same crops repeatedly. It’s a practice called monoculture farming. It not only depletes nutrients from the soil but can also accelerate soil damage and erosion to such an extent that, according to the UK Soil Association, the world is currently losing soil equivalent to the size of 30 football pitches every minute. Soil is responsible for 90% of the food we eat, so damaging the soil puts our food system at risk.

Knorr wants to change this through the power of flavour.

Reinventing food for humanity

Alongside growing ingredients sustainably, the brand has an ambition to get food that is good for people and the planet onto 7 billion plates by 2025.

“We want to reinvent food for humanity,” says Knorr’s Global Brand VP April Redmond. “It’s hugely ambitious,” she adds, “but we’ve got the scale, the expertise in flavour and ingredients, the partners and the will to do it.”

And this confidence is based on firm foundations. Knorr is a much-loved store cupboard staple and has been known for its great taste for more than 183 years. Around the globe, Knorr products are purchased over 3 billion times a year and are on the tables in more than 379 million homes annually. Millions of people also explore over 14,000 recipes available on pack, in promotions and on websites such as Knorr.com and Knorreatforgood.com.

Eating for good is easier than you think

Key to this ambition is the launch of World Eat for Good Day on 19 February.

Many of us want to eat foods that are good for us and good for the planet but find it hard to know what changes to make or where to start. World Eat for Good Day aims to unleash that inner ‘Eativist’ hidden in us all. It promises to be a day packed with new recipes and smart ingredient swaps that make taking action easier than you think.

“It’s time to banish mealtime monotony for the betterment of ourselves and the planet,” says Dorothy Shaver, registered dietitian and Global Marketing Sustainability Lead for Knorr. “We can eat our way to a better food future. On World Eat for Good Day we want to show people how, by inspiring them to swap their traditional ingredients for Knorr and WWF’s Future 50 Foods.”

These 50 nutritious plant-based ingredients have been selected by Knorr, WWF, scientists, chefs, nutritionists and agricultural experts based on their nutritional value and relatively lower impact on the environment.

Knorr’s ask on 19 February and beyond is as simple as it is flavourful: take action to change the world by changing what’s on your plate.

Chef and foodie influencers around the globe – including Netflix’s Restaurants on the Edge chef Dennis Prescott – will be sharing and demonstrating recipes on their social feeds and asking everyone to swap at least one ingredient in their routine meals each week for a Future 50 Food, with help from the flavours on offer in Knorr’s range of products.

Knorr’s Instagram and Facebook pages will be a part of the day, hosting fun polls and quizzes packed with good food foodie facts. To mark the occasion further, Hasbro Inc’s iconic MR. POTATO HEAD will make a costume swap into Cilembu sweet potato to show people everywhere how easy it is change ingredients and add a Future 50 Food to their plates.

Three examples of ingredient swaps

So just how easy is it to make an ingredient change that can make impact?

Here are three swaps and recipe ideas for you to try. All of them can be found in Knorr’s Future 50 Foods cookery book which is free to download.

1. Swap rice for quinoa
Ramp up your risottos by replacing starchy rice with this nutty flavoured grain. It serves up three times as much protein with half the greenhouse gas emissions. Try this: Veggie Parmesan Quinotto.

2. Swap beef for lentils
Lentils are a tasty alternative to ground beef in family favourites such as spaghetti bolognese and tacos. As well packing a protein punch, they emit 80% less greenhouse gases and provide 10 times more fibre than ground beef, without the saturated fat. Try this: Spicy Red Lentil Balls.

3. Swap potato for Cilembu sweet potato
Less starchy that its traditional cousin, Cilembu sweet potato is sweeter in flavour and provides three times more vitamin C and calcium. Eating different varieties of similar foods helps make the food system more resilient while getting the nutrients needed. Try this: Spiced Mung Bean, Cilembu Sweet Potato and Kale Stew.

And there’s lots more inspiration online. As part of World Eat for Good Day, Knorreatforgood.com and Knorr.com will be offering flavourful recipes that incorporate or swap in Future 50 Foods grains and vegetables into the world’s favourite recipes.

Making healthier options accessible to all

With a predicted 10 billion mouths to feed by 2050, there is another compelling reason for making food choices that reduce the impact our plates have on the planet. “Unless we change the foods we eat and the way we grow them, it will be challenging to have good food for us all,” says April.

As it stands, our food system is a big contributor to biodiversity loss, causing significant environmental damage. The food system contributes 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, with 60% coming from animals.

As one of the world’s largest food companies Unilever understands it has a role to play in helping transform the global food system.

Knorr’s commitments and World Eat for Good Day are part of Unilever’s Future Foods commitments, which will help people transition towards healthier diets and contribute to a new annual global sales target of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives by 2025–27.

Knorr is also working to lower the carbon footprint of its products: 25% of Knorr’s product portfolio will contain the Future 50 Foods, 50% of its portfolio will be plant-based and 100% of Knorr’s vegetables, herbs, cereals and top five spices will be sustainably sourced by 2025.

Helping you change the world by changing what’s on your plate

With these big goals on the table, can simple ingredient swaps made by individuals really have a significant impact?

The answer is yes.

We can change the world by changing what’s on our plates. If just one person ate one plant-forward meal a day for a year, they could save almost 200,000 gallons (910,000 litres) of water (11,400 showers’ worth of water) and the pollution equivalent to driving 3,000 miles (4,800km) in a car.

“World Eat for Good Day is one of the ways we can make it easier for people to do that, to eat a wider variety of foods,” says April. “Foods that are good for us, good for the planet, and of course delicious at the same time.”

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