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Fermented Foods: A Public Health hero?

Updated: May 21, 2020

Fermented, live vegetables in a jar with super hero cape
Super pickles!

So you know what fermented foods are and you know how they might be good for your health, but what about everyone else? Does being a fermented food fanatic help other people too? Well in under 600 words we can give you an idea of how it can be helpful to everyone, not just keeping you and your microbiome happy 😊

So, lets get straight to the 3 reasons why fermented foods could be making a difference to the world.

Fresh, raw green shredded cabbage
Lovely, fresh cabbage

1) Less food waste = happier environment

So you probably already have figured this one out – fermentation allows food to last longer! And you know that the Crafty Pickle crew are trying to use as much “going to be wasted” food in their funky ferments. Now before you say, ‘YUCK, food waste!?’ Just know that these guys aren’t using half eaten apples or pizza crusts in their products. They ONLY use imperfect fruit and veg (think wonky) and surplus produce. Food waste is a serious issue, in 2015 WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme)1 showed we had 5 million tonnes of household food waste in the UK. Between 2015-2018, charitable redistribution has saved 27,300 tonnes, in one year that equates to 133 million meals. However, there is still 190,000 tonnes of food waste that can be saved.1 Food waste increases our carbon footprint and contributes to further global warming, so by charities and organisations reducing food waste and providing tasty food and meals, this is a win-win guys! Yay for fermented foods – keeping us environmentally friendly!

2) Funky fermented vegetables = various vitamins and fibre

That’s right – it’s not only good for your biome, but good for adding a range of vegetables to your diet. We all know it’s a public health message to get your 5 a day as this is important for several reasons, one of which is to make sure our bodies get a range of vitamins, minerals as well as enough fibre. Well adding a long-lasting ferment to your plate is a tasty and different way to boost your intake of a range of vitamins and get a bit more fibre into our diets! It lasts for a long time, so you can add it when you want it, without worrying about it wilting in fridge like that boring lettuce you’ve been putting off having in your salad. You could even give it as a Christmas gift to your friends 😉

Fermented vegetable product kimchi made with cabbage, chilli, garlic, ginger, radish, mooli, daikon

3) Ferments are for everyone!

Okay, so the Crafty Pickle crew are amazing at what they do – but anyone can ferment foods! It just takes a bit of know-how and elbow grease to make your own tasty sauerkraut. Fermented foods have been linked to reduced insulin sensitivity,2 reduced allergic and inflammatory reactions,3 and may even have an impact on mental health.4 Now, research into food is super complicated and we aren’t going to prescribe fermented food for health conditions and we are not dieticians! But, if you are interested in trying a fermented product then the Crafty Pickle guys do regular taster sessions across Grampian. You can try a free sample, hear about how fermenting works and maybe even take a jar of your favourite home! If you’re not into fermented veggies, then there are lots of other types of fermented foods you can try – kefir, kombucha, miso… the list goes on and on!

Want to learn to make your own fermented foods? Well check out The Crafty Pickle’s next event about how to make your own sauerkraut & kimchi at home

Emma Berry, Registered Associate Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition
Emma Berry (ANutr)

Emma Berry is a Registered Associate Nutritionist and is currently undergoing her PhD (f@#k yeah science!) Want to know more about Emma and her awesomeness? Check out her LinkedIn page and give her a follow on Twitter


1. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Food surplus and waste arising in the UK. 2019. Available at:

2. Marco ML, Heeney D, Binda S et al. Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond. 2017. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 44, 94-102.

3. Chilton SN, Burton JP and Reid G. Inclusion of Fermented Foods in Food Guides around the World. 2015. Nutrients, 7(1), 390-404.

4. Lowry CA, Smith DG, Siebler PH et al. The Microbiota, Immunoregulation, and Mental Health: Implications for Public Health. 2016. Current Environmental Health Reports, 3(3), 270-286.

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