Future 50 Foods for Healthier People & Planet

By Dorothy Shaver, Registered Dietitian and Global Knorr Sustainability Lead

Most of us might believe it’s our energy or transport choices that cause the most serious environmental damage. In fact, it’s our food system that creates the biggest impact.  -Dr. Tony Juniper, Executive Director Friends of the Earth

future 50The Future 50 Foods Report, written by Knorr, WWF-UK and nutrition expert Dr. Adam Drewnowski, provides a tangible solution to decrease the environmental impact of our food while increasing the nutritional value of our meals. It begins by outlining the food system issues and goes on to identify 50 of the foods we should eat more of to help improve the health of people and the planet. The ambition is to make three shifts in the foods grown and eaten globally: more vegetables, more plant-based sources of protein in place of animal-based protein sources, and more variety in grains, cereals and other nutrient rich sources of carbohydrates. Therefore, the Future 50 Foods are a wide variety of vegetables, plant-based proteins, grains and cereals. Working with our partners we created a methodology that assessed their nutritional value, environmental impact, potential affordability and global accessibility. The set of criteria is modelled after the UN Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) definition of sustainable diets. 


Seventy-five percent of what the world eats comes from just twelve crops and five animal species, which has serious implications for both the health of our rapidly growing population and the health of our planet.  Unless we change the foods we eat and the way we grow them, it will be challenging to have enough food to feed us all well. The ambition of Future 50 Foods is to make it easy for people to eat a wider variety of foods that are good for us and good for the planet, and, of course, delicious at the same time.


The environmental challenges and pressure to feed a rapidly increasing population calls for us to eat a wider variety of foods that are highly nutritious, have higher yields, are tolerant of challenging weather and environmental conditions, making them invaluable in the face of growing climate uncertainty. The Future 50 Foods list combines familiar, although under-consumed foods, such as lentils, wild rice and kale, with less globally well-known foods like fonio, pumpkin flowers and cactus. Each has been selected based on its nutritional value, relative environmental impact, flavour, acceptability and potential accessibility and affordability. Each has a story to tell.

Adzuki beans



With a sweet & slightly nutty flavour, adzuki beans are popular, nutritious ingredient in Japan & other parts of Asia. This drought-resilient crop is often cooked, puréed & sweetened to form a paste used in sweet treats. Adzuki beans is an under-used ingredient that can improve nutrition & strengthen food systems! #Future50Foods



Try new foods – your health, your planet, and your taste buds will thank you! The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star, as famously said by French gastronome, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Read more about the link between our food and the health of our planet by clicking HERE.

Follow #future50foods on social media for recipes, tips and more and click here for Knorr Future 50 Foods recipes!