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.

14 February 2014

This Dutch study looks at consumers’ potential preferences for snacks made from a range proteins with lower environmental impact and segments according to their values and attitudes to food. In this hypothetical experiment, people could choose between written descriptions of a range of snacks containing lentils or beans, seaweed, insects or a combination of meat and a non-specified meat substance. The study found that a hybrid meat product may be preferred by many consumers before insects or seaweed. The researchers found that, overall, people who tended to eat more meat were less likely to choose the lentils and seaweed snacks while those who ate more fish were more likely to choose the seaweed snack.

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.

6 February 2014

WRAP (the Waste Resources Action Programme) has published a new report which uses an econometric modelling approach to investigate the influences on household food waste and food purchases. It also looks into the implications of less food being wasted.

28 January 2014

The European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table has launched a new protocol to help consumers make informed choices about their food and drink. It also aims to provide operators along the food chain with scientifically reliable and consistent environmental product information. The ENVIFOOD Protocol provides guidance for assessing the environmental impact of food, feed and drink products throughout their full lifecycles. The European Food SCP Round Table, aside from producing the ENVIFOOD Protocol, has also identified tools for communicating environmental performance, and mapped environmental challenges and good practices along the food chain.

28 January 2014

The Good Enough to Eat Index highlights some of the areas of critical concern for many countries when it comes to making sure that people can eat well, and indicates some important failings of the global food system that must be addressed. The index is an interactive snapshot of 125 countries showing the best and worst places in the world to eat, and the challenges people face getting enough of the right food. It was constructed to illustrate how overconsumption, misuse of resources and waste are common elements of a system where one in eight people suffer from hunger, while there is enough food to feed the global population.

28 January 2014

This report from the Swedish WWF's Ecological footprint unit provides a mapping of current scenarios, ongoing work and a compilation of knowledge on sustainable production and consumption of food.

19 December 2013

In this post on the Defra Sustainable development Scene, Toby Pickard, Senior Sustainability Analyst at the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) in the UK, looks at shopper attitudes towards achieving a sustainable diet, the challenges surrounding this and the implications for the food and consumer goods industry.

19 December 2013

The UK’s Family Food report provides detailed statistics on food and drink purchases, expenditure and the derived nutrient content of those purchases from a large household survey covering the United Kingdom. It looks specifically at the domestic, household level.

Chapters include: purchases and expenditure, energy and nutrient intakes, geographic and demographic comparisons as well as a chapter on dietary trends.

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.

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