Development of the Swiss food system: a perspective from 2050

by | Jun 22, 2023 | MOVING

Author: Workshop group WP6 (ZHAW)

Translated into English: Carmen Forrer (ZHAW)

This fictional article was written in a workshop with experts from the agriculture and food system in the Canton of Grisons in the Swiss Alps. The article is from the perspective of the year 2050 and looks back to the past.

In 1980, we couldn’t imagine that we would no longer eat meat every day. Since the last seventy years, the eating behaviour as well as the social attitude towards a sustainable diet fundamentally changed. Today, it is part of normal everyday life that we only consume meat from the region, so Argentine beef on the store shelf today would be a complete no-go.

To achieve the mission of reducing consumption of meat, a lot of work has been done particularly on the consumption side. The goal was to increase the demand for alternative meat products. A milestone in this regard was the introduction of the new school cookbook in 2030 in all Swiss elementary schools. This promoted the training of children on regional and sustainable diets and encouraged them to carry this mindset home. At the same time, a national initiative in culinary education was launched, which also took this topic into account. A study from 2035 was then able to show that with these measures alone, meat consumption could be reduced by 25%.

“I never thought that meat consumption would decrease so much,” explains Walter    Müller, the former director of Proviande, the Swiss association for meat. Müller adds that he himself now likes to resort to alternative meat products. This consumption trend towards less meat then also found its way into gastronomy. This trend has been further fostered by the establishment of a tax reduction for caterers who provide at least half of their menus as vegetarian options.

Equally important were the measures taken on the production and processing side. Thanks to constant commitment, the following milestones could be recorded on the production side. The first  was the establishment of the “Cow R-code” (QR) in the 2030s. This code is now familiar to everybody and it transparently guarantees the traceability of all animal   products. Tik-Toker Nathalie Bread was quoted several times with her viral video, where she clearly said that thanks to this code, one now effectively knows where the meat comes from. The media attention the video generated, promoted the basic attitude of the population to more conscious nutrition. The “Cow R-code” encouraged some farmers to establish pasture killing in their own farms as a standard practice. Farmer Gian-Andrea Capeder explains that it paved the way to breathe new life into the village slaughterhouse. This     marked the end of the era of large-scale slaughterhouses, and in 2045, the last one   in Bern was closed down. With the small   slaughterhouses, new workplaces could be created in the rural areas.

Today, thanks to all the measures implemented, Switzerland is a role model country in terms of a sustainable food system in Europe. Therefore, the first “World Sustainable Forum” on sustainable food systems will take place in Davos on October 25, 2050.