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 May 2013

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has recently finalized a review of the its Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production (P&Cs),  and agreed a new set of standards. RSPO founder member WWF is signing up to the standards but cautions that they are not good enough.  It says that using palm oil certified as  sustainable under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is no longer enough to ensure companies are acting responsibly.

21 May 2013

The rising cost of animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth and increasing demand for protein mean that alternative solutions to conventional livestock and feed sources urgently need to be found. Therefore insects as food and feed emerge as a very important issue of today.

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13 May 2013

This is an interesting study which tests preferences for sugar, fat, salt and umami (savoury-ness) among children in a range of European countries. It finds that children’s liking for these tastes varies by country, suggesting that culture has a very strong part to play in influencing food preferences. While hardly a major revelation in itself, what I take from this study is that the very common assumptions we see about the ‘inevitability’ of growth in demand for high fat and high sugar foods, or for meat products, are open to challenge.

8 May 2013

The shift towards a more sustainable diet necessitates less reliance on foods of animal origin. This study presents data from a representative survey of Dutch consumers on their practices related to meat, meat substitution and meat reduction.

22 April 2013

The latest United States Department of Agriculture report on global trade in livestock and poultry has been published. The report provides a snapshot of the current situation among the major players in world beef, pork, broiler meat, and turkey meat trade. 

15 April 2013

A new 90,000-square-foot indoor farm called FarmedHere has recently opened in Chicago and is expected to produce 1 million pounds a year of organic greens like basil, lettuce, mint, and spinach. It is also expected that it will provide hundreds of local jobs. 

25 March 2013

FCRN network member Hannah Tuomisto has co-authored a life cycle analysis of (hypothetical) in-vitro meat production here: Tuomisto H L, Teixeira de Mattos M J (2011) Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production. Environ. Sci. Technol. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es200130u 

25 March 2013

Bill Gates seems to have entered into the meat question.  In his view it is simply not possible to feed 9 billion people on a high meat diet and the way forward is therefore the development of artificial meat and eggs. 

25 March 2013

This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week.

18 March 2013

The Norwegian pension fund GPFG, the largest in the world and worth US$710 billion, has pulled out of 23 palm oil companies in Indonesia and Malaysia which it judged to unsustainable. GPFG’s investments in the palm oil industry are now reduced by more than 40 per cent.

11 March 2013

Science Daily summarises the findings of a paper which reports on recent successful attempts to transgenically breed a pig that utilises  phosphorous more efficiently.  The pigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs, thereby reducing phosphorus pollution in the environment.

11 March 2013

This paper highlights the impacts of heat stress on yields of maize in France.  It finds that while irrigation can be used to adapt to reduced rainfall, heat stress is a concern that cannot be so easily managed.  It finds that assuming current climate projections, yields per hectare will need to improve by 12% between 2016 and 2035 simply to maintain current production levels.

4 March 2013

This is an interesting paper because it considers one of the potential nutritional downsides of reducing meat consumption – the risk that iron intakes might be undesirably low. The study finds that a replacement of meat and dairy intakes with plant based substitutes has benefits in terms of reduced land requirements and delivers saturated fat reductions.

11 February 2013

WWF and the Food Ethics Council have jointly published a report which explores the whole idea of eating “less but better” meat.

6 February 2013

New work undertaken by a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that many Dutch consumers are interested in reducing their meat consumption without completely becoming vegetarian. The new data find more than three-quarters of consumers questioned have at least one ‘meat free’ day per week and 40% report at least three meat free days per week. The Dutch researchers claim that this trend of flexitarianism is emerging for other nations throughout Europe.

One of their journal papers that examines the issue is as follows:

Abstract

6 February 2013

A new report by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, calls for the UK Budget 2013 to implement a sugary drinks duty to fund a ‘Children’s Future Fund’ for spending on programmes to improve children’s health and future well-being.

6 February 2013

A study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science reviews the Database on Raising Intelligence to find interventions that increased children’s intelligence. One such intervention involved supplementing infants with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the study concludes that this does indeed have a positive impact on children’s IQ. 

29 January 2013

The European Commission has released a report entitled: Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU from 2012-2022.  The report predicts that total meat production in the EU is expected to decline by 2% over the next two years, due in part to the ban on sow stalls. After the oncoming 2% decline, it may take up to 10 years for the EU meat sector to reach its 2011 production level of 45 million tones. The report also predicted that the EU would see its share of global meat exports decline over the next decade.

7 January 2013

A new book entitled “Principles of Sustainable Aquaculture: Promoting Social, Economic and Environmental Resilience” by Stuart W. Bunting of the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex serves as an advanced level textbook focusing on developing more sustainable aquaculture practices. 

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