Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumer stage

Consumer preferences, demands, needs and ultimately consumption patterns influence global and local patterns of agricultural production and affect all other stages of the food chain. However the consumption practice of individuals is itself shaped by a huge host of influences including national and international regulations and legislation, market prices and food’s affordability, food industry advertising and marketing, technological innovations, and societal norms, mores and taboos.

Image: Jeff Vanuga, Pesticide application on leaf lettuce in Yuma, Az., Public Domain Files, Public Domain
18 February 2019

Switching to an organic diet for six days significantly reduced the levels of several pesticides and pesticide metabolites found in the urine of the 16 participants of this study.

11 February 2019

The World Resources Institute has published its early findings on research into language that appeals to British and US consumers when describing plant-based foods.

29 January 2019

FCRN member Annette Burgard has created the app More Than Carrots, which has rated 1500 London restaurants according to their number and variety of vegan and vegetarian options.

Image: Sandstein, A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nutritional supplement milkshake (right), consisting of circa 25g protein powder (center) and 300ml milk (left), Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
29 January 2019

This feature in the Guardian discusses the reasons for the current popularity of high-protein foods, explores consumption patterns between countries, and questions whether protein shakes have the same nutritional benefits as relatively unprocessed options such as salmon.

Image: vbosica, Champagne Brindisi White, Pixabay, Pixabay license
22 January 2019

This paper surveyed food shoppers in Toronto to find the links between socioeconomic status and food preferences. It finds that the shoppers with the highest socioeconomic status tend to be motivated by both aesthetic and ethical concerns when choosing food.

10 December 2018

The Centre for Biological Diversity has calculated the emissions produced by the food offered at the ongoing COP24 climate conference, arguing that the many meat-based options mean the menu has an “unnecessarily high carbon foodprint”.

3 December 2018

The Food Ethics Council has created a new website about food citizenship, aimed at changemakers in the food and farming system, arguing that it is easier to influence the food system when people think of themselves as citizens rather than consumers.

Image: adege, Garbage Plastic Waste, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
19 November 2018

This feature in the Guardian explores the reasons for the rapid growth of the anti-plastic movement. It also describes historical lobbying campaigns that painted plastic packaging as being the responsibility of the consumer rather than manufacturers, and outlines some of the issues associated with recycling plastic (in comparison to recycling, say, glass or metals).

6 November 2018

Sustainable Manufacturing and Recycling Technologies (SMART), a research and development centre at Loughborough University, has produced a post-event report of its expert panel discussion on reducing the impact of food waste held on 12 October 2018. The topics discussed include the influence of multibuy offers on food waste, the links between single-use packaging and food waste, the impacts of “wonky veg” ranges in supermarkets, and smart fridges.

6 November 2018

13% of the UK population is now vegetarian or vegan, while a further 21% identify as “flexitarian”, according to the 2018-19 edition of the Food and Drink Report by supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners. Among other food trends, the report also discusses plastic packaging, claiming that 88% of survey participants who had watched the final episode of the wildlife documentary Blue Planet II have changed how they use plastic.

Image: Engin_Akyurt, Beer Alcohol The Drink, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
6 November 2018

According to a survey of US beer drinkers, 59% would be willing to pay more for beer that has been brewed using more sustainable processes, such as energy efficiency or carbon saving measures. On average, respondents were willing to pay $0.22 more per 12-ounce bottle than the price they already paid for their favourite beer ($1.69 per 12-ounce bottle).

16 October 2018

A quarter of survey respondents claim that healthy and nutritious food in the UK is too expensive, while 10 million people live in “food deserts”, according to a report by London-based think tank the Social Market Foundation. The report examined three barriers to healthy eating: prices, affordability (relative to income) and access to food stores.

Image: George Hodan, Praying hands, Public Domain Pictures, Public domain
25 September 2018

A survey of Canadians finds that a high level of dedication to Christianity is negatively correlated with monetary donations to environmental causes, while being a believer without an affiliation to organised religion is positively correlated to such donations. However, being very religious was positively correlated with volunteering for environmental causes, while being strictly secular or nominally religious were negatively correlated with such volunteering.

Image: USDA, Fruit bar pick, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
4 September 2018

A survey of 18- to 24-year-old students in the US finds that very few study participants had high knowledge of the issue of food waste, and many participants estimated that they wasted less than the average American. Students often attributed blame for food waste to university dining halls, food service outlets or society in general, rather than to themselves as individuals. The paper grouped factors that both increased and reduced food waste production (depending on context) into several categories, including taste and appearance, reuse value, scheduling, personal values, portion sizes, cost, social norms, whether or not the food was prepared by the person who ate it, sharing of food, convenience, and food safety.

20 August 2018

Animal advocacy organisation Faunalytics has released the report “Messages to overcome naturalness concerns in clean meat acceptance: primary findings”, which studied how people perceive the “naturalness” of cultured meat (also known as laboratory-grown meat) when it is described in different ways. The report found that study participants (based in the US) were more accepting of cultured meat when presented with a message about the “unnatural” conditions in which conventional meat is produced. Messages arguing that cultured meat has a “natural” side or that “naturalness” does not matter did not result in greater acceptance of cultured meat.

17 July 2018

Irish social enterprise foodture has produced a podcast about food citizenship, featuring Anna Cura of the Food Ethics Council. Anna describes the concept of food citizenship as being a mindset where people to think about themselves as engaged citizens, not just consumers, when making food purchase choices.

Image: TeroVesalainen, Grocery store supermarket, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
17 July 2018

This paper reports on a systematic review of grocery store interventions undertaken to evaluate their effectiveness in changing food purchasing behaviours, and to examine whether this effectiveness varied with intervention components, setting, or socioeconomic status. This is the first paper to synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in grocery stores across a wide range of intervention types.

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