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.

25 September 2014

A recent study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes explores the perils of conducting economic research in a vacuum. The researchers found that after completing a lesson in calculative economics participants were significantly more likely to behave in selfish ways and ‘engage in unethical behaviors to better themselves’. However, those participants who instead completed a history lesson (in this case specifically on the industrial revolution) were less likely to behave selfishly after.

25 September 2014

This paper provides a schema for categorizing all diets as either: low carbohydrate; fat, low glycemic; Mediterranean; mixed, balanced; Paleolithic; or vegan.  The researchers emphasize that the aim of the research is not to recommend one particular diet over another, but rather to highlight how disease prevention and increased public health is best realised.

15 September 2014

This paper on sustainable diets, published in Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, provides evidence on the most effective ways to influence consumers to adopt sustainable diets. The evidence comes from a pilot study on a group of 163 Australians who would be expected to be ‘early adopters’ of a sustainable diet (due to their higher than average education and income).

15 September 2014

A new paper published in Futures urges discussions about unsustainable food consumption to include more consideration of consumer habits and practices. Responding to reports by the World Economic Forum and the European Commission, it hypothesises that technological innovations and ‘produce more with less’ approaches fail to take into account the varied and nuanced consumer attitudes that surround food, and therefore do not fully consider whether the public would ever actually adopt proposed solutions.

5 September 2014

The FoodSwitch app, developed by the George Institute for Global Health to help you make healthier food choices is one of three winners of the Public Health England Award. The app was designed to help the consumer make better food choices and works by displaying nutritional information and offering the user healthier alternatives to the items in their shopping basket.

5 September 2014

Food taxes & subsidies are effective at improving diets, according to a systematic review carried out by Australian researchers and published in the journal Nutrition Reviews. The systematic review analyses evidence from research published between January 2009 and March 2012 looking at the effectiveness of food taxes and subsidies on consumption. Included in the review were only papers assessing a specific food tax and those which directly and prospectively observed consumer responses to a fiscal policy intervention.

30 July 2014

Prepared foods, for sale in streets, squares or markets, are ubiquitous around the world and throughout history. This volume is one of the first to provide a comprehensive social science perspective on street food, illustrating its immense cultural diversity and economic significance, both in developing and developed countries.

30 July 2014

New data from Canadean based on a survey of 2000 individuals finds that many people in Britain are interested in trying insects and around 6% say that they would like to eat them regularly.

22 July 2014

In our mailing of 1st July 2014 we highlighted a new paper by Pete Scarborough et al. which compared the GHG intensity of diets adopted by vegetarians, fish eaters and meat eaters in the UK. The Oxford Martin School has now published a short interview with Pete, in which he outlines his motivation for undertaking this work, the method he adopted, and the insights gained from the study.

Citation

Scarborough, P., "Q&A: Should We All Become Vegans to save the Planet?" Interview by Sally Stewart. Web log post. ThinkLONG. Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 08 July 2014.

Read the full interview blog-post here. We have also highlighted Peter Scarborough’s paper in an earlier newsletter, see it and our ‘further reading’ recommendations here

22 July 2014

Square Meal: why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health’ is a new report published by The Food Research Collaboration, the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, the Food Ethics Council, Sustain, the Wildlife Trusts, the Soil Association, Eating Better and Compassion in World Farming.

1 July 2014

The book ‘Challenging Consumption’, produced by the CONSENSUS research team, explores the topic of sustainable consumption. It includes discussions on future scenarios and innovations for sustainable food consumption practices. The book was launched in Dublin on 12th June 2014 by Dara Lynott, a Director of the Environmental Protection Agency who funds CONSENSUS research.

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