Football as a communicative bridge for environmentally-friendly nutrition

International football tournaments enjoy great social and media attention in Germany and across Europe, offering an opportunity to raise awareness on topics of societal interest beyond football. The 17th men’s UEFA Football Championship (EURO 2024) hosted by Germany will be an event of great magnitude: one month, 24 teams, 10 cities, 70,000 fans in the final, and a multi-million audience in Europe and across the world.

The typical football tournament food, consumed in stadiums or while watching at home, is still too animal-based, often unhealthy, and has a high carbon footprint. The KochCup project wants change this and use the momentum and visibility of European Championship 2024 to address the immediate need to shift toward healthier and more sustainable diets.

The far-reaching effects of our diets and food production on the climate and biodiversity – through land, resource and water consumption – are a call on all relevant actors to take action and make environmentally-friendly food available and accessible to everyone. The EAT-Lancet Commission’s Planetary Health Diet provides a scientific basis for the necessary changes in the global food system and contains recommendations that can be used to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and sustainable food by 2050.

To support raising awareness on as well as mainstreaming environmentally-friendly nutrition, the project will organise a competition with German apprentice cooks that will run in parallel with the European Championship 2024. The apprentices coming from different cooking schools around the country will be motivated and supported by the project team to create their own environmentally-friendly recipes. They will compete against each other in regional competitions (preliminary rounds) in order to qualify for the final event in Berlin, where European Championship final will also take place.

The competition will be accompanied by an expert advisory board and a jury of food and environmental experts as well as cooks and athletes, who serve both as advisors and multipliers. The project will support the inclusion of winning recipes in restaurant menus and catering businesses.

Throughout the entire competition phase, the CSCP and its project partner, tippingpoints will make the content accessible to the board public through integrating online voting, encouraging people to cook the recipes at home, sharing project results in real time on the project website and social media channels. Results and calls for action will also be featured on local and national media outlets.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.