Long-known for its rich pickings of cheese, wines and meats, recent reports show that only a small percentage of local produce is actually consumed by people on the island. The Menorca Preservation Fund explains how we can boost local produce and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time.
Having recently carried out a study into the food trends of Menorca’s residents, the local council has revealed some truly eye-opening results in regards to the way local produce is consumed. One of the main statistics highlighted in the 2018-2021 Food Strategy report was that of the 77,000 tons of food consumed on the island, only 19.4% is local with the rest being imported. That is an incredibly low number considering that Menorca produces 27,920 tonnes of food each year, so it leads to the question – why aren’t the people of Menorca eating more of the food that it produces?
Well, the study also revealed that only 58% of the total food produced is actually consumed on the island because the remaining 42% is mostly the exportation of its dairy products. Menorca has strong ties with the cattle industry so beef and dairy farms occupy most of Menorca’s farming land, leaving only roughly 5% for the production of fruit and vegetables.
It’s therefore easy to understand why this deficit in the consumption of local produce has arisen over recent years: there simply isn’t enough food being produced to meet the demands of the island’s residents.
However, changing attitudes and food trends have also contributed to this decline in local food consumption. With most people having grown used to buying and eating fruit and vegetables all year round, regardless of the season, it means that certain products such as bananas, kiwis, etc. have to be imported.
And this is not just in Menorca. People have become out of touch with the natural cycle of fruit and vegetable cultivation, which is not only detrimental for local producers but also for the planet. It was estimated that about 6,316 tonnes of carbon emissions were generated from the consumption of imported products to Menorca in the last year, compared to just 416 tonnes emitted by local product consumption.
Another important aspect that emerged from the studies is the attitude to waste. We are living in a throwaway culture where we over-consume and as a result 15% of all the food in Menorca ends up in the bin. In fact, when this is broken down into the different sectors, household waste is the biggest culprit with 41% of food being thrown away each year.
It’s clear that our food habits play a huge role in how food is produced, consumed and treated locally and globally. The voice of the consumer has the power to change the food industry for the better.
By demanding food that is locally grown and, ideally, organic, the public can directly affect the quality of not only the food that they eat, but also the land and soil in which it is grown and, most importantly, create a fairer and more sustainable food cycle across the entire globe.
For a catalogue of local producers and products available around the island go to www.agroxerxa.menorca.es