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.

22 July 2019

This opinion piece in The Hill by Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, argues that the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (which is reviewing the guidelines for their 2020-2025 edition) is strongly influenced by the food industry and that the committee will not be allowed to conduct a full review of the evidence on questions such as food sustainability.

22 July 2019

The World Resources Institute has released its full and final report on “Creating a sustainable food future”. The report addresses the question “Can we feed the world without destroying the planet?”, specifically asking whether the food system can feed nearly 10 billion people adequately by 2050, without expanding the area of agricultural land, and while avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.

Image: Pxhere, Avocado cherry tomatoes, CC0 Public Domain
22 July 2019

FCRN member Gesa Biermann of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich has co-authored this paper, which analyses trends on a popular German recipe website, finding annual growth rates of 16% in vegetarian recipes and 3.5% in vegan recipes between 2005 and 2018. 

Image: Public Domain Pictures, Slices Of Bread On A White Background, CC0 Public Domain
22 July 2019

FCRN member Peter Alexander has co-authored this paper, which finds that incremental improvements in several areas of the food system (including production efficiency, reducing food waste and changing diets) could reduce agricultural land use by between 21% and 37%, depending on adoption rates. 

4 July 2019

This annual report from Menus of Change, a joint initiative by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provides guidance for the foodservice sector on how to choose menus and select ingredients in ways that are beneficial to health and the environment.

3 June 2019

A jury-style event hosted by the UK’s Food Ethics Council finds that a meat tax is too simplistic. The event saw four “expert witnesses” give evidence on the impacts of meat and sugar taxes, the environmental impacts of grazing livestock, and the health impacts of consuming processed and ultra-processed meat.

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

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.

Image: Pxhere, Restaurant dish meal, CC0 Public Domain
3 June 2019

According to this randomised controlled trial, people eat an average of 500 kcal more per day when offered ultra-processed food compared to unprocessed food (as defined by the NOVA system). Furthermore, the trial subjects gained weight on the ultra-processed diet and lost weight on the unprocessed diet.

8 May 2019

New York City has launched a new strategy to tackle climate change, inequality and other social and environmental issues. The strategy calls for the City to end unnecessary purchases of single-use plastic foodware, phase out the purchase of processed meat and halve purchases of beef.

24 April 2019

The Swedish EAT Forum has produced a series of podcasts that examine how the findings of the EAT-Lancet report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems can be translated into action.

24 April 2019

According to the BMJ (British Medical Journal), the World Health Organisation pulled out of sponsoring a launch event for the EAT-Lancet report on healthy and sustainable diets after Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Italy’s ambassador to the United Nations, questioned the health and economic impacts of the report’s largely plant-based diet recommendations.

16 April 2019

14% of Brits are “flexitarians”, i.e. they have a mixed diet that is mainly based on vegetarian foods but they occasionally eat meat, according to this white paper from the UK-based market research firm YouGov. Flexitarianism is more common among young women than other demographic groups and more common in inner London than other geographic regions.

Image: Nick Youngson, Bell peppers, Picserver, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
1 April 2019

In two experiments where participants were asked to choose between hypothetical canteen meals, “traffic light labelling” (red, amber or green labels) of different meal options was found to shift meal choices towards those lower in carbon emissions and calorie content.

26 March 2019

This book by Bee Wilson explores how changing diets affect health, social interactions and the wider world.

Image: DanaTentis, Sardines fish lunch, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
26 March 2019

FCRN member Christian Reynolds uses linear programming to calculate diets that meet both health and greenhouse gas emission criteria while being affordable for different income groups in the UK. Generally, the optimised diets are higher in plant-based foods than diets consumed in the UK in 2013, although seafood is higher in the optimised diet than in 2013 diets.

Pages