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.

16 March 2020

FCRN member Elin Röös has co-authored this paper, which finds that the average Swedish diet far exceeds the planetary boundaries (scaled to the per capita level) suggested by the EAT-Lancet Commission for greenhouse gas emissions, cropland use, application of nutrients and biodiversity. The diet is within the boundary for freshwater use.

10 March 2020

This article from Civil Eats examines how the rise of both plant-based diets and regenerative agriculture practices have encouraged more farmers in the United States to grow pulses such as lentils, peas and chickpeas. As pulses become more popular with US consumers, a smaller fraction of the US pulse harvest is exported to other countries.

10 March 2020

This book examines the role of school gardens in addressing malnutrition among students and promoting healthy eating. It includes case studies in Nepal and the Philippines.

10 March 2020

French non-profit Solagro has released an English version of this report, which presents the Afterres2050 scenario: a bottom-up assessment of the future of the French food system. The scenario was developed in consultation with farmers, foresters, nutritionists, community representatives, etc. as well as a multidisciplinary scientific council. 

10 March 2020

This report from the Dutch non-profit Access to Nutrition Foundation and UK charity ShareAction analyses the extent to which the 10 largest supermarket chains are reporting their progress on diet, nutrition and health. It finds that current levels of disclosure are sparse and varied between stores, with no store reporting on more than 35% of the indicators assessed in this report. Sainsbury’s supermarket has the greatest extent of reporting.

3 March 2020

This book takes a philosophical approach to the “raw vegan” diet. It discusses the ethics of eating animal products, including laboratory-grown meat, and further argues that cooking food encourages people to eat foods that are not healthy.

24 February 2020

This WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission examines the effects of climate change and food advertising on children’s health and likelihood of enjoying a good future. The report argues that children’s wellbeing should be placed at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

18 February 2020

This article in the Guardian, by food writer Bee Wilson, author of The Way We Eat Now, describes the debate around so-called ultra-processed foods. Wilson describes the classification system for processed foods developed by researcher Carlos Monteiro and the research being done on the health impacts of ultra-processed foods.

18 February 2020

This report from Sustainable Diets for All (a programme by Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development) documents a food diaries project in East Java that aimed to address the triple burden of malnutrition: co-existing undernutrition, overweight and micronutrient deficiencies.

18 February 2020

This report assesses the impact of the UK non-profit Veg Power’s “Eat them to defeat them” advertising campaign, which aimed to persuade children to eat more vegetables. Children who had seen the advertising campaign were more likely to agree with statements such as “Eating vegetables is fun”, “I like vegetables” and “Vegetables can be really tasty” than those who did not see the adverts. An estimated 650,000 children ate more vegetables as a result of the campaign.

10 February 2020

This book uses a range of case studies to explore how food and immigration influence each other in North America, focusing on borders (e.g. geopolitical or cultural), labour and identities (including changing diets).

10 February 2020

FCRN member Helen Harwatt has co-authored a letter calling for high- and middle-income countries to incorporate four commitments on livestock, emissions and land use into their commitments for meeting the emissions reductions of the Paris Agreement.

3 February 2020

This podcast from global food community Food Matters Live discusses the effect that veganism has recently had on the food industry, how plant-based food and drink is likely to develop throughout 2020, and how the media and food companies talk about plant-based foods.

3 February 2020

This report from the Behavioural Insights Team, a global social purpose company, outlines 12 strategies for governments, retailers, producers, restaurants, campaigners and consumers to promote sustainable diets.

3 February 2020

This report, by the global NGO World Economic Forum and the management consultancy McKinsey & Company, sets out four pathways by which food systems stakeholders can be encouraged to bring about a transformation in food production, supply chains and diets.

28 January 2020

This report from the UK Soil Association’s Food for Life initiative explores the state of children’s food in England. It finds that 4 in 10 children leaving primary school will be overweight or obese by 2024, nine out of ten preschool children eat too much sugar and UK families eat the most ultra-processed diet in Europe.

28 January 2020

This paper by FCRN member Jono Drew investigates whether healthy and climate-friendly diets might vary from global recommendations in the context of New Zealand (using food carbon footprints specific to New Zealand, where possible). It finds that shifting diets towards whole plant foods (such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains) and away from red and processed meat would have large health and climate benefits, consistent with recent global recommendations.

20 January 2020

In this report, the global non-profit World Resources Institute lists 23 ways in which the food service sector could encourage diners to choose dishes that contain more plants and less ruminant meat.

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