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.

12 December 2013

This study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has an interesting approach to capturing changes in diets by country. It uses an ecological metric – trophic levels – to calculate different dietary patterns across different countries and to examine how these patterns - and their trophic levels – have changed over time (1961-2009).

5 December 2013

The Irish CONSENSUS research project on sustainable household consumption has launched a set of two-minute video animations on their research. CONSENSUS aims to advance understanding of the drivers shaping everyday household consumption practices and to identify policy, technology and educational interventions to facilitate sustainable living. We are highlighting three of their videos here.

21 November 2013

This review article, Population, development, and climate change: links and effects on human health, discusses the results from a University College London & Leverhulme Trust Population Footprints Symposium on the linkages between population, development, climate change and health. The review, published in The Lancet, shows that while population growth is an important factor, consumers rather than people per se, drive climate change, and therefore reducing consumption represents the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions. It says that family planning (when implemented with other social and economic improvements) is one of the most effective ways of managing increases in population growth and of delivering extensive health benefits in both high and low-income countries. However when it comes to addressing climate change, demographic trends with respect to ageing, urbanisation and consumption are more significant than total population numbers. The authors conclude that reducing consumption and creating sustainable lifestyles in rich countries represent the most effective way of reducing carbon emissions and ultimately delivering health benefits.

21 November 2013

This article published in the Lancet, argues that coordinated action at the political level, both nationally and internationally is required to meet the challenge of antibiotic resistance. If such global coordinated actions are not immediately taken the authors argue that we will see major setbacks, medically, socially, and economically. The article focuses on antibiotic resistance from a global perspective and identifies key areas where action is needed.

13 November 2013

This report updates WRAP’s 2007 report The Food We Waste which exposed the full scale of the food waste problem for the first time. It identifies how much food is wasted in UK homes, which foods are wasted most and why, and how much that waste costs. The WRAP research reveals a substantial reduction in the amount of household food and drink waste arising between 2007 and 2012, while also highlighting the scale of the opportunity remaining.

6 November 2013

This dissertation looks at the sustainability of the current food system and analyzes how environmental impacts could be reduced and health impacts could be increased through dietary change. The results from this work suggest that dietary change, in areas with unrestricted diets, could play an important role in reaching environmental and health goals, potentially reducing GHG emissions and land use requirements by up to 50%.

6 November 2013

This report from IGD highlights consumers' attitudes towards adopting a more environmentally sustainable and healthy diet. Some of the report's main findings are:

  • Shoppers are feeling more empowered about sustainable diets, but still require industry to take the lead in this area and to inspire them
  • Nearly half of shoppers say healthy options are important compared to one in five that consider ethical factors
6 November 2013

The UK-based Eating Better alliance has published the findings of a survey which finds that :

• 25% of the British public say they are eating less meat than a year ago

• 34% are willing to consider eating less meat

• One in six (17%) young people say they don’t eat any meat

1 November 2013

This paper published  in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management discusses the idea of  using surplus food redistribution to reduce food waste. It concludes that unless a distinction is drawn between genuine waste to be recovered and surplus to be redistributed for community benefit, surplus food as a resource is unlikely to be fully utilised.

1 November 2013

Taking as its starting point the mounting evidence pointing to the need for consumption changes aimed at achieving healthier and more sustainable diets, this research highlights the process of constructing an ecological foodprint tool (www.voedingscentrum.nl). It seeks to contribute to greater understanding of the role that social networks and social media can play in informing dietary choices. The foodprint tool has the following features: 1) its focuses on food only; 2) it is designed to encourage interaction by the users; and 3) it incorporates recommendations for achieving a healthy diet with a lower foodprint.

15 October 2013

The UK based organization WRAP (Waste Reduction Action Plan) has released a new report which concludes that £6.9 billion worth of food, drink and packaging waste occurs in the grocery retail supply chain. The report identifies where in the sector the waste arises, what the waste is, and how it is managed. It also concludes that the waste totals 7% of the value of food and drink sales to households and argues that if the money was instead used for increasing exports or investment it would both help individual businesses and the economy to grow.

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