Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Fruit and nuts

In everyday use, a fruit is mostly referred to as any soft, sweet-tasting part of a plant containing seeds. They are considered healthy foods, and dietary guidelines often recommend increased daily intake of this food source, alongside vegetables. The GHG impacts of producing fruit very much depend on the production and distribution methods – for example highly perishable produce such as soft berries may be transported by air at great GHG cost. The production of certain fruits, such as bananas and raspberries, typically entails high pesticide use and because of their high sugar content, may spoil easily. Therefore much fruit is lost and wasted on its way to the consumer, at environmental cost. Commercial almond, walnut and pistachio production are notably water intensive. Some express concern about the socio-economic impact of horticultural exports from developing countries to developed countries; while this can bring much needed cash to poor economies, shortages of nutritious food locally may be exacerbated by the export culture. Other issues relate to exploitation of workers and low wages.

4 April 2017

In this article researchers argue that even just 2.5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily can lower the chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death. If the amount is further increased to 10 a day this could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

Victor Camilo, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
8 August 2016

The DNA of Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the fungus that causes the black Sigatoka disease in bananas, has been sequenced and assembled in an attempt to find means of disease control. The black Sigatoka disease occurs across the tropics and is responsible for huge banana yield losses. In addition, it can cause the fruit to ripen prematurely, which stops exports of the crop. The Cavendish banana, the clonal type of bananas most consumers in the west eat is especially vulnerable to the black Sigatoka fungi.

20 April 2016

This report produced by Food Research Collaboration (FRC) outlines the horticulture sector’s potential to create a shift towards healthier diets in the UK by contributing to overall fruit and vegetable consumption.

1 April 2016

The EU parliament has now approved a law which will merge the separate EU school milk and fruit schemes and boost their combined annual budget from €20m to €250m a year.

29 April 2015

This paper published in Nature shows that neonicotinoids, a commonly used insecticide seed coating can have serious consequences for wild bees. The paper is based on a study of 16 rapeseed fields in the southern part of Sweden; it finds that there are only half as many bees in fields that have been treated with the insecticide as in untreated ones. Insecticides that include neonicotinoid make up a fifth of the whole insecticide market.

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29 January 2015

This commentary from Confectionary news argues that suppliers of ingredients should set targets to achieve fully sustainable cocoa and it states that standardisation is crucial since more than 80% of the produced cocoa in the world is now unaccounted for. The article states that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will be introducing a voluntary joint standard for traceable and sustainable cocoa in 2016.

27 February 2014

A new policy report from the Fairtrade foundation, Britain’s Bruising Banana Wars: Why cheap bananas threaten farmers’ futures looks at how price pressures in many banana producing countries have led to job losses, the casualisation of labour and the marginalising of smallholder producers. These in turn negatively affects wages, access to services and the environmental sustainability of banana production.