Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food chain stage

The food chain describes the physical flow of goods from agriculture through processing and distribution, to retailing to eventual consumption and waste disposal. The papers and reports in this category highlight the different issues and impacts associated with each particular stage of the food chain.

25 June 2019

This report from the US-based Breakthrough Institute suggests that increasing the productivity of grazing systems, particularly in lower-income countries, can help to shrink the area of land used as pasture.

25 June 2019

This report from UK supermarket Sainsbury’s sets out predictions for how the food system might be in the years 2025, 2050 and 2169. Near-term predictions include milk made from algae, and increased numbers of flexitarian eaters, while long-term predictions include farming in inhospitable landscapes such as deserts or Mars, and personal microchip implants that tell us exactly what nutrition we need.

Image: Amber, Cupcakes rock onesie, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
25 June 2019

This paper analysed thousands of items of children’s clothing and found that many feature images of food - particularly on girls’ clothing - and that those images often depict unhealthy food types.

Image: Marco Verch, Flat lay above Pastry with Walnuts cream, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
25 June 2019

According to this paper, households in the Netherlands wasted 41kg of solid food per person in 2016 - a 15% decline since 2010. Furthermore, 57 litres per person of potable liquids such as coffee, tea and milk are disposed of via the sink or toilet each year. Rice, bread, pasta, vegetables and pastries are among the food types most likely to be wasted (as a percentage of purchased quantity).

Image: Graham Robson, Slurry lagoon north of Bays Leap Farm, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
17 June 2019

A joint investigation by the Guardian newspaper, Channel 4 News and the UK’s non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that halving ammonia emissions from farms in the UK could save thousands of lives each year. However, a loophole in regulations means that ammonia emissions from beef and dairy farms do not have to be monitored.

17 June 2019

This book by Ruth Kassinger uses case studies to explore how algae could be used to produce food, fuel and packaging materials.

Image: Ron Knight, Corn Crake (Crex crex), Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
17 June 2019

According to this study of farmland birds in Finland, bird abundance is positively correlated with the nearby presence of organic animal farms, as well as the percentage of nearby field cover and the presence of natural grasslands.

Image: Max Pixel, Pressure Industrial Pipe, Creative Commons CC0
17 June 2019

Methane emissions from ammonia fertiliser manufacturing plants (which use natural gas as a feedstock and energy source) in the United States are around one hundred times higher than currently reported levels, according to this study. Researchers used a Google Street View car equipped with methane analysers to take measurements downwind of six ammonia fertiliser plants (there are only 23 such plants in the US).

Image: Eva Decker, Moss bioreactor, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic
11 June 2019

This opinion article suggests that microbial biomass from bacteria, yeasts, or fungi could be used as human food and animal feed, with the advantage of using less land compared to conventional crop production, particularly if feedstocks were derived directly from atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Image: Ton Rulkens, Dried cassava roots, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
11 June 2019

This paper finds that production of the top ten global crops has already been affected by climate change, with mixed impacts across both crop type and geographical area. Oil palm has seen a 13% decrease in yields relative to those that would have been seen under historical climate conditions, while soybean has seen a 4% increase.

Image: Robert Colletta, Photograph of a fully mature Perca flavescens (Mitchill, 1814) - yellow perch, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
11 June 2019

This paper by FCRN member Elinor Hallström assesses the nutritional content and climate impact of 37 seafood products. The paper finds high variability in nutritional and climate performance, with no consistent correlation between nutrition and climate impact across different seafood species. The paper calls for dietary advice to promote species with low climate impact and high nutritional value, including sprat, herring, mackerel and perch.

Image: USDA, Fruit bar pick, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
3 June 2019

Organic charity the Soil Association is calling for the UK government to introduce a mandatory meat-free day each week for school catering to tackle climate change and increase fibre intake, noting that few schools currently follow the voluntary plant-based day recommended by the current School Food Standards.

3 June 2019

This open access book, by Anna Davies, uses case studies to examine the past and present of food sharing in cities.

3 June 2019

This report from the Eating Better Alliance surveys 620 sandwiches available from retailers in the UK. It finds that 85% of sandwiches on the market still have meat, fish or cheese as their main ingredient, and only two sandwiches had any “better meat” certification (RSPCA Assured logos).

3 June 2019

FCRN member Mark Measures has produced this report on the use of different soil analysis and management techniques for organic and agro-ecological farming. The report is the outcome of a Churchill Fellowship.

3 June 2019

FCRN member Charlotte Kildal has co-authored this paper documenting the Norwegian Armed Forces’ attempt to introduce the Meatless Monday campaign, where only vegetarian meals are served on one day each week. The paper found that the initiative had mixed results.

Image: Marco Verch, Glass bowls with buckwheat, rice, lentils, wheat, beans, seeds and nuts, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
3 June 2019

College students who take a course on food and the environment reduce their reported ruminant meat consumption by 28% relative to their consumption prior to the course, according to this paper by FCRN member Jennifer Jay of UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering.

29 May 2019

Wageningen University and Research has formed a consortium together with several private companies to research the use of co-products and residues from the food sector and industry as animal feed. A particular research focus will be on increasing Europe’s self-sufficiency in feed materials.

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