Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumption and diets

The type, quantity and formats of foods we eat vary considerably over time and space. A person’s consumption of food is rarely a matter solely (or even largely) of personal conscious choice. Instead, it is affected by such wide-ranging factors as cultural identity and taboos, food availability and price, genetics, legislation, technological innovation and marketing campaigns. Governments and civil society organisations have long been promoting healthy diets to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases both at a global and national scale and the concept of ‘sustainable healthy diets’ – diets that have lower environmental impacts but fulfil nutritional requirements –  is very slowly gaining ground.

Image: Güldem Üstün, China (Beijing) Tasteful sea animals, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
13 February 2018

A National Geographic feature covers the ways in which China’s diet is changing and its food system is becoming more industrialised.

Image: Soil Science, Aerial Photo of Center Pivot Irrigations Systems (2), Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
13 February 2018

This opinion piece by Peter Horton of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures discusses the failures of the current food system and sets out some possible solutions to achieve sustainable food security for all.

Image: World’s Direction, Doughnuts, Flickr, Creative Commons 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
6 February 2018

The Financial Times explores several emerging trends in the global food industry, including eating insects, new retail models in China, sugar taxes, food waste monitoring and genetically modified crops and animals.

Image: Marco Verch, Bowl of nuts close-up, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
6 February 2018

The FCRN’s founder Dr Tara Garnett was interviewed on the BBC Worldservice’s Why Factor programme, for their episode which discussed veganism.

Image: Cazz, Terraced rice paddies, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
1 February 2018

A Climate Action Tracker report outlines and quantifies the main opportunities to reduce food-related non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CH4 and N2O.

1 February 2018

This paper reviews the evidence on two widespread explanations for the importance of meat in Western history and culture: biophysical and political-economic. The first is the notion that meat eating is essential to both human nutrition and agricultural sustainability, whereas the second puts forward the argument that meat eating practices are largely determined by consumers’ relationships to the means of production and the power of government and corporations.

Photo: Marco Verch, Tofu-Würfel mit Soße, Reis und Brechbohnen, Flickr, CC by 2.0
12 December 2017

This piece by the international NGO Futures Centre highlights the emergence of some innovative solutions that could help the transition to a sustainable protein consumption and production system.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, How much do fruits and vegetables cost, Flickr, CC by 2.0
12 December 2017

This new study by FCRN member Paul Behrens and colleagues investigates the environmental impacts of a nationally recommended diet when compared to the national average diet for 37 nations across the world, including 9 middle income nations.

14 November 2017

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, schools chancellor Carmen Fariña and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams announced that 15 Brooklyn schools will participate in Meatless Mondays in spring 2018. The program will provide participating schools with healthy, all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday. The NYC mayor, First Lady Chirlane McCray and Gracie Mansion will also go meatless for all Monday meals.

14 November 2017

Public policy action tank Brighter Green has published a discussion paper on changing food environments and the effects on global public health. Author Judy Bankman examines the challenges created by the recent and swift adoption of a “Western”-style diet in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Photo: Noel Portugal, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2017

This new paper by FCRN member Elin Röös , the FCRN’s Tara Garnett and colleagues explores the following questions: What would be the implications, for land use and greenhouse gas emissions, if our global population moved away from eating beef and other ruminant meats and switched mostly to chicken? What if we all went vegan? What if all our meat demand were met by artificial meat? Or what  if, in an attempt to avoid ‘feed-food’ competition, we limited our consumption of animal products to what we could obtain by rearing animals on grasslands and feeding them byproducts and food waste?

30 September 2017

The United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) has produced a discussion paper on sustainable healthy diets. It begins by outlining the relevant global policy framework and existing commitments on nutrition and climate change. It then goes on to examine the interdependence of climate change, food systems, diets, nutrition and health, before setting out which policy steps need to be taken to further research and action in this area.

13 July 2017

Recognising that changing what people eat can make a major contribution to the environmental performance of the food system, the new and updated Livewell Plates in this report illustrate the minimal dietary changes required to reach the 2 °C climate target. The report presents simple steps – such as eating more plants, legumes and grains –  that could help cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

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