A healthier lifestyle and climate protection could go hand in hand, a new report from environmental organizations shows.

According to a report by environmental groups Fern and Madre Brava, healthier ready meals could reduce harmful EU emissions by 48 million tonnes annually and save consumers €2.8 billion a year. This would also reduce the disease rate. This is reported by the British daily newspaper “The Guardian”.

Fast food and ready meals often provide more than a sixth of the EU calories, but contain significantly more salt and meat than doctors recommend. An analysis by consultancy Systemiq found that introducing minimum health and sustainability standards among the companies that sell most of these products would bring huge benefits to society.

“Producing healthier and more sustainable ready meals is a no-regrets policy,” said Eduardo Montero Mansilla of the Spanish Consumers and Users Association. “We can improve the health of people and the planet at affordable prices,” he added.

The report by NGOs Fern and Madre Brava examined the impact of large food companies adhering to the dietary guidelines of the World Health Organization and the EAT-Lancet Commission.

The World Health Organization aims to prevent malnutrition and non-communicable diseases, while the EAT-Lancet Commission seeks to reduce both ecological and human damage.

In both cases, they came to the conclusion that ready meals should, on average, contain only half as many processed grain products and two-thirds less meat. In addition, the proportion of legumes should be “significantly” increased.

The NGOs accordingly called on the EU to require major food companies to comply with health and sustainability guidelines for ready meals sold in the EU.

The report also found that cheaper food could save consumers €2.8 billion a year and reduce harmful emissions by 48 million tonnes.

According to the Guardian, however, it did not take into account the additional economic benefits that could arise if hospitals had to spend less money on treating patients and employers suffered fewer financial losses from employee absences due to illness.

“We are currently in a nutritional health crisis,” said Alba Gil of the European Public Health Alliance, which co-authored the report. “Our eating habits determine our health and therefore our future.”

“It is therefore only logical that political decision-makers regulate the conditions under which we consume food in order to ensure a healthy and affordable diet,” says Gil.