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.

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.

8 July 2020

This paper from the Oxford Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) programme examines the narratives that have - at different times and places - surrounded three scenarios about the future of milk and dairy: “more milk”, “better milk” and “less milk”. 

23 June 2020

This report from the international non-profit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy examines the climate impacts of large dairy corporations. It finds that greenhouse gas emissions from the 13 largest dairy companies have increased by 11% over the last two years, alongside an 8% increase in milk production, and that none of these corporations has published plans to cut total emissions in their dairy supply chains. 

23 June 2020

FCRN member Susannah Fleiss is the lead author of this paper, which finds that setting aside areas of forest (conservation set-asides) within oil palm plantations plays a vital role in storing carbon and boosting rainforest biodiversity within plantations.

17 June 2020

NGO Greenpeace Brazil reports that some meat companies that have exported beef from Brazil to the UK, among other countries, have received cattle that have, for part of their life, been grazed on illegally deforested areas within the protected Ricardo Franco State Park. Greenpeace describes the process as “cattle laundering” because the cattle are sent to other farms (not linked to illegal deforestation) later in their life, to hide the links to deforestation.

17 June 2020

According to this paper, participants in a survey of 193 Dutch citizens were more likely to view cultured meat favourably after they were given information about its purported benefits, compared to before they were given information. Most participants were willing to pay a premium of 37%, on average, for cultured meat over conventional meat.

9 June 2020

This blog post from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute examines uncertainties around the environmental impacts of cultured meat. It points out that estimates of the carbon footprint of cultured meat are highly variable, and that the impacts of switching to cultured meat depend on what it is replacing in the diet (e.g. beef, poultry, plant-based meats or tofu).

9 June 2020

This working paper from the World Resources Institute compares the carbon footprint of dairy from 13 different countries and pork from 11 countries. It uses a carbon opportunity cost approach to carbon footprinting, i.e. it accounts for carbon that is not stored in vegetation or soils because the land is being used to produce dairy or pork. 

26 May 2020

This paper reviews the environmental, economic and social consequences of the oil palm boom. It finds that palm oil has increased incomes, generated employment and reduced poverty at the same time as causing deforestation and biodiversity loss. It discusses policy options to reduce the tradeoffs between environmental protection and economic benefits.

19 May 2020

This blog post John Lynch of Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People programme asks whether we can keep farming cows and sheep without dangerously warming the planet. He points out that it is possible to maintain stable temperatures without eliminating methane emissions entirely (in contrast to CO2 where emissions have to fall to net zero to tackle climate change). However, ruminant methane emissions are currently increasing. Furthermore, ruminants use a lot of land, some of which could be used for other purposes that might sequester more carbon.

19 May 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute lays out the economic and environmental case for expanding federal support for alternative protein research and industry expansion. COVID-19 is not only impacting the meat processing industry - many alternative protein startups are also closed or threatened by declines in investment funding. The report estimates that the alternative protein industry could generate over 200,000 US jobs in the long-term, but only if the government provides support to the nascent industry to ensure it does not collapse because of COVID-19. Support might include small business innovation programmes, loan guarantees, and research and development programmes.

5 May 2020

This opinion piece by Liz Specht of the US Good Food Institute argues that taking animals out of the global food system - for example by replacing animal products with plant-based or cultivated meat products - can reduce the risk of future pandemics. Specht notes that zoonotic diseases usually pass to humans during the hunting or slaughter of wild animals or livestock.

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