Exemplary applications in the food industry

Within the field of nutrition numerous important social, ecological and economic aspects are involved.
The food industry belongs to the most significant economic sectors in Germany and approx. 5900 companies in the food sector achieved a turnover of 138 billion € and employed about 519.000 people in 2006 – all figures with increasing tendency in comparison to preceding years. Recent estimates for 2007 point to another substantial growth in sales, while the number of employees seems to be decreasing slightly.

A decisive part in the German food sector is played by the 1.228 Northrhine-Westphalian companies (21% of the German companies). In 2006 these businesses generated 27 billion € (22% of the German food industry turnover) with the help of 88.700 employees, 17% of the total number of employees in the German food industry.

The production and processing of fruit and vegetables, oils and fats, meat and confectionery in NRW contributes a substantial 30 %  to the federal German production.

The share of the food sector in resource depletion amounts to approx. 20% and takes second place only behind building and construction.
The production of food, plays more than a minor role in climate change, among other things on account of the energy required for food production and processing, but also with regard to the methane emissions by ruminant animals. Thus, the production of one kilogram of beef is preceded by an output of methane, which heats up the atmosphere just as much as 36 kg of CO2. To put it bluntly, one kg of beef is just as detrimental to our climate as 250 km of driving.
Our health and well being are the direct result of healthy or unhealthy nourishment and influence follow-up indicators like work productivity or costs of illness.

For the food industry it is clear that they assume great responsibility concerning sustainable development: on the one hand because of the kinds of of the products and their ingredients, and on the other hand, by the processes, which are interconnected with the products in the entire value chain.
In terms of sustainable development, it is crucial to optimize both in relation to ecological, social, and economical aspects, from the extraction of raw materials, to the processing industry, distribution/trade, phase of consumption, to recycling, and disposal.

Within Eukona, selected target groups of the food industry are meant to recognize how they can contribute to sustainable development through their daily work by specific increase in competency.


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