Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Fast food

15 March 2017

This report from the UK free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs claims that healthy food is actually cheaper than ‘junk food’. In drawing this conclusion the IEA also states that taxes on unhealthy foods (consumed as they say disproportionately by people with low incomes) is unlikely to be enough to change consumer behaviour and will be regressive - it will hit poorer people the hardest. 

17 November 2016

Publisher’s abstract as follows: There is enormous current interest in urban food systems, with a wide array of policies and initiatives intended to increase food security, decrease ecological impacts and improve public health. This volume is a cross-disciplinary and applied approach to urban food system sustainability, health, and equity.

Photo credit: Scion_cho, Junked, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
24 October 2016

A key ingredient in junk food is vegetable oil. 60% of this oil is from oil palm and soybean, production of which has been expanding in Southeast Asia and South America, resulting in widespread deforestation and biodiversity loss. In this article, the authors calculate the amount of current deforestation due to vegetable oil consumption (through junk food) and extrapolate vegetable oil demand to predict the deforestation future consumption patterns would cause by 2050.

Credit: wellunwell, soft drinks, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
11 October 2016

This study estimates the environmental impacts of what it terms discretionary foods - foods and drinks that do not provide nutrients that the body particularly needs. It finds that these foods account for 33-39% of food-related footprints in Australia.

28 June 2016

A new report by McKinsey & Company argues that China seems to be abandoning Western fast food for healthier options. Only 51% of consumers in China said they ate Western fast food in 2015, signalling a drop from the 67% who said they consumed fast food in 2012.

30 January 2015

Two new papers from researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University have analysed the portion sizes and nutritional contents (including calories, sodium, saturated fats and trans fats) of popular menu items served at three national fast-food chains between 1996 and 2013. The researchers found that average calories, sodium, and saturated fat stayed relatively constant, at high levels and the only decline seen was of trans fat of fries that took place between 2000-2009. The products analysed were: French fries, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwich, and regular cola.

29 January 2015

McDonalds has announced that it will begin using “verified sustainable beef” in some of its hamburgers by 2016. In this article however, it is questioned “what exactly is so sustainable – or indeed verifiable – about the beef of the future”.

2 October 2014

Advocates of the alternative food movement often insist that food is our "common ground" – that through the very basic human need to eat, we all become entwined in a network of mutual solidarity. In this book, the author explores the contradictions and shortcomings of alternative food activism by examining specific endeavours of the movement through various lenses of social difference – including class, race, gender, and age.

27 March 2014

Understanding the influence of neighbourhood food environments in light of recent changes in society and rising levels of overweight and obesity has become very important. 

18 February 2014

This systematic review examines the most common persuasive techniques used to promote junk food to children on television. The study shows that the approaches most frequently used are: free toys, gifts, discounts and competitions, promotional characters and celebrities, and appeals to taste and fun to promote junk food to children. These persuasive techniques were found to be used more often when promoting unhealthy food. The study authors argue that a ban on junk food advertising to children under 16 would be an important measure to fight child obesity. NB: the study looks at which persuasive techniques were most commonly used – it doesn’t assess which are the most effective.

14 February 2014

In collaboration with agricultural and environmental experts, E-CO2, McDonalds is launching a practical tool that aims to demonstrate to farmers what measures that can be taken to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their business efficiency.

6 February 2014

The paper is a systematic review of literature describing seven dietary interventions  aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in overweight or obese children. It points out that in the context of the global obesity problem, dietary interventions can be used to promote healthy eating habits, but taking a narrow and restrictive focus can result in an increased preference for the restricted foods and be unlikely at achieving positive, long-term change.