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.

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.

15 October 2013

In this study, researchers contrast values and psychological associations and underpinnings of vegetarianism across cultural contexts.  The paper focuses on different perceptions among vegetarians and omnivores with regards to the impact of their daily food choices on the environment and animal welfare, universalistic motives and beliefs that eating meat is polluting. The study analyzes vegetarianism in USA and India and concludes that in USA the primary concerns are universalism, animal and environmental welfare while in India purity, pollution, authority, and tradition are primary concerns.

15 October 2013

This paper explores how far changes in consumers’ diets can lead to reductions in food related GHG emissions. While previous studies have looked at the relative mitigation impact of switching to vegetarian and vegan diets, this paper estimates the contribution that the average UK diet makes to GHG emissions. It does so by combining the GHG emissions from 66 different food categories with self-reported dietary information. The average GHG impact that the authors arrive at is 8.8 kg CO2 eq per person – including both food eaten and the embedded emissions in food wasted (post-purchase).

7 October 2013

This book discusses the implications of the financial credit crunch for consumers and food spending. The authors argue that the credit crunch is having an impact not only on short term food prices but also on the sustainability of the food system.  The economic changes we experience now are said to have a bearing on our ability to manage the environmental credit crunch that looms. The authors conclude that a significant and positive difference could be made by changing some of the ways in which we procure, prepare, and consume our food.

17 September 2013

This video introduces the themes and goals of the Global Landscapes Forum which will take place in Warsaw 16-17 November this year, during COP 19. The forum will focus on issues such as how we can feed a growing population without clearing the world’s remaining forests to make way for new farmland and how we can stem the tide of climate change. The overall aim is to discuss how a “landscapes approach” can help us address these issues.

Click here to see the video.

17 September 2013

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York have built a model that looks at the pressure that UK consumption activities place on biodiversity overseas. The model, funded by  Defra, provides a framework for assessing the links between goods and services consumed in the UK but imported from overseas to potential impacts of their production on biodiversity in their country of origin. The model can be used to explore the impacts of over 200 agricultural products (and many other products of non-agricultural systems, e.g. mining, forestry and fisheries), and can break down consumption impacts resulting from demand from specific product groups.

5 September 2013

This comprehensive European Commission (EC) study was launched in 2011 to assess the impact of EU consumption on forest loss at a global scale. The study assesses the impact of EU consumption on deforestation and provides a list of possible policy responses to create sustainable consumption.  

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