Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food type

Different foods will have different consequences for greenhouse gas emissions, other environmental impacts and for health. This category contains links to research which analyses particular food groups including meat, fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates and dairy products.

21 October 2020

This study from the European Commission, co-authored by FCRN member Michael MacLeod, reviews the social and economic importance of livestock production in the European Union, examines the impacts of the sector on the environment, human health and animal welfare, and sets out recommendations for improving livestock sustainability.

21 October 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Gesa Biermann uses a survey of German consumers to explore the different meanings and expectations attached to eating at home and eating in restaurants. The study shows that meat-eating is more common in restaurants than at home, for example 59% of flexitarian respondents ate more meat at a restaurant than at home. This is attributed to perceptions of eating meat in restaurants being an opportunity to treat oneself and celebrate special occasions. The paper suggests that to encourage plant-based eating in restaurants, the meaning of plant-based foods must become more aligned with notions of “the good life” (for example, relating to ideas about hospitality, generosity and pleasure).

6 October 2020

In collaboration with WWF, the UK supermarket Tesco has announced a target of increasing sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025, relative to a 2018 baseline. To meet this goal, Tesco plans to introduce new plant-based products, try to keep prices affordable, work with suppliers to encourage innovation and display meat replacements alongside their animal-based equivalent.

6 October 2020

This commentary piece, co-authored by FCRN member Elin Röös, argues that the message ‘less but better meat’ needs to be defined more clearly, since there is a risk that the message could actually push livestock production towards more harmful practices. 

23 September 2020

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member David Cleveland, aims to quantify the animal welfare and environmental implications of replacing egg-based mayonnaise with plant-based mayonnaise and replacing eggs with tofu, using a case study from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

23 September 2020

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member Simon Bager, assesses the sustainability practices of a sample of hundreds of companies in the global coffee sector, including producers, traders, roasters, processors and cafés. It reports that around one third of the companies have no sustainability commitments, another third have one to four commitments and the remaining third have five or more sustainability commitments.

9 September 2020

This report by UK sustainability consultancy 3Keel assesses the quantity, origin and certification status of soy in the supply chains of animal products sold by 11 European retailers (including UK supermarkets such as ALDI, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s). It finds that 25% of this soy footprint was claimed to be free of deforestation - an increase over the previous year’s figure. The remaining 75% of the soy footprint is not claimed to meet any deforestation-free standard.

9 September 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Raychel Santo reviews evidence on the potential benefits and risks of the production and consumption of plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives. The paper covers implications for health, environmental performance, animal welfare, economy and policy.

27 August 2020

According to this article from POLITICO, dairy farmers in West Africa are being undercut by exports of “fat-filled milk powder” from the European Union. This product is a blend of dairy whey left over from processes such as butter manufacture and vegetable fats such as palm oil. 

27 August 2020

UK cultured meat startup Higher Steaks has created one of the world’s first lab-grown pork products (Mission Barns claims to have created, but not publicised, a lab-grown bacon prototype in May 2020). The Higher Steaks pork belly is made of 50% cultivated cells, and the bacon product contains 70% cultivated cells, with the remaining material being plant-based.

27 August 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute suggests federal policy pathways to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in the United States. It estimates the potential job creation and climate mitigation potential of each proposal and finds that, together, the policy proposals could save and create tens of thousands of jobs, while also reducing dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

14 July 2020

This episode of the Nordic Talks podcast series (produced by the Nordic Council of Ministers) discusses how imperfect vegetables are handled in the food industry and asks why the market for "ugly" vegetables is suddenly taking off in Norway and China.

14 July 2020

The Good Food Institute, a US alternative protein nonprofit, has released a collaborative research directory listing researchers who are active in the alternative protein space and those who want to work in the field. The directory lists location, research interests and whether institutions are hiring staff.

14 July 2020

According to this paper, coconut oil cultivation puts a much greater number of species at risk per million tonnes of oil than other oils, including palm oil, despite narratives about the environmental impacts of oils usually focusing on deforestation caused by palm oil cultivation.

8 July 2020

This report from UK food waste NGO Feedback argues that sustainability certification of wild-caught forage fish as feed for Scottish salmon aquaculture companies could in fact be driving overfishing.

8 July 2020

This report from UK food waste NGO Feedback uses the Scottish salmon aquaculture sector as an example to argue that feeding wild fish to farmed salmon is an inefficient and environmentally damaging way of providing micronutrients to humans. It suggests that replacing some farmed salmon consumption with small wild-caught fish and farmed mussels could provide the same level of micronutrients while protecting fish stocks.

8 July 2020

This research shows that global replacement of fish meal and fish oil in aquaculture feed with alternative feeds (including algae, bacteria, yeast and insects) could reduce aquaculture’s demand for forage fish while - depending on the specific mix of alternative feeds - maintaining feed efficiency and levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the farmed fish.

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