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.

28 November 2018

In this interview with the New Food Economy, author Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm discusses the barriers that people of colour often face in accessing fresh food in the United States, and the origins of many sustainable farming techniques in various African countries.

27 November 2018

This report finds that the ten largest US food and beverage manufacturers lack comprehensive strategies for effectively addressing obesity and diet-related diseases. Assessing a portfolio of the manufacturers’ products, the report classifies only 30% as “healthy”.

Image: Kjokkenutstyr, Sliced Avocado Toast, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
26 November 2018

A special issue of the journal Science includes several review papers on important questions in the connection of diets and health, including dietary fat, gut microbiota, fasting and diets for athletes.

Image: Richard Croft, Tesco Extra, Geograph, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
19 November 2018

UK supermarket Tesco and wildlife NGO WWF have set up a four-year partnership to work on reducing the environmental impacts of food. They aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, according to a metric that they will develop.

Image: Takeaway, Chingrit thot (Thai script: จิ้งหรีดทอด) are deep-fried crickets. The crickets used in Thailand can be either Gryllus bimaculatus or, as shown in the image, Acheta domesticus, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
19 November 2018

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has started selling edible insects in 250 of its stores, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. The barbecue-flavour roasted crickets are made by Eat Grub and contain 68 grams of protein per 100 grams of dried crickets. Eat Grub founder Shami Radia told Sky News, “We're on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn't be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

12 November 2018

This report by the UK Health Forum argues that the UK’s current food system does not support the UK government’s healthy eating goals. For example, many subsidies support animals products and relatively few support fruit, vegetables and pulses, while healthy foods often cost more than unhealthy foods.

29 October 2018

A hard Brexit, where the UK trades with other nations on the terms and tariffs set out by the World Trade Organisation after leaving the European Union, could cause an additional 5,600 deaths in the UK, mainly due to reduced consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts, according to a working paper published by the Oxford Martin School.

Image: Garry Knight, Fruit and veg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
29 October 2018

The global agricultural system doesn’t produce enough fruit, vegetables and protein to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s population, according to this paper. Meanwhile, grains, fats and sugars are overproduced, relative to what is needed for a healthy diet (defined in this paper as a diet in accordance with the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate (HHEP)).

16 October 2018

WWF-UK has produced a report that maps multi-stakeholder initiatives in the food system by commodities, geographies, issues and stakeholders involved. The report is aimed at helping initiatives identify the gaps where they can make a unique contribution.

Image: JD Hancock, Apple Earth, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
16 October 2018

A combination of measures including a shift towards plant-based diets, halving food waste and technological changes in agriculture (such as more efficient fertiliser application, feed additives and changes in irrigation) could significantly reduce the food system’s environmental impacts relative to 2050 projections and potentially even reduce impacts below today’s levels, according to a new paper.

Image: Scott Veg, Veggie Loaf Prison Food, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
8 October 2018

A new law requires that state institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and prisons in California must provide a vegan menu option. The move has been welcomed by health and animal welfare campaigners.

Image: Tookapic, Food plate restaurant, Pexels, CC0 Creative Commons
25 September 2018

FCRN member Laurence Godin of the University of Geneva has written a paper that uses social practice theory to map food prescriptions (i.e. guidelines on how best to eat) and their translation in practice. It identifies what elements are essential for taking up food prescriptions, beyond individual motivation and intention.

Image: Foto-Rabe, Vegetables Mediterranean Herbs, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
18 September 2018

FCRN member Nicole Tichenor Blackstone of Tufts University has recently authored a paper that compares the environmental impacts of three healthy eating patterns recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The vegetarian eating pattern had lower impacts than the US-style and Mediterranean-style eating patterns in all six impact categories considered.

Image: Pxhere, Field, farm, meadow, Public domain
4 September 2018

If everyone in the world ate a diet consistent with the United States Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines, we would need more additional farmland than the amount of fertile land available, claims a recent paper.

20 August 2018

The University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research has released the report “Changing food cultures: challenges and opportunities for UK agriculture”. The report gives an overview of how UK agriculture might be affected by future changes in the food system, such as health concerns or increases in purchases of ready-meals and snacks.

Image: sarahemcc, 2 piglets at JEEP, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
31 July 2018

A new paper in Science reviews trends in meat consumption and the associated health and environmental implications. The paper also discusses potential means of influencing meat consumption levels.

Image: Richard W.M. Jones~commonswiki, Broad beans, shelled and steamed, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
24 July 2018

Current crop production levels could feed a population of 9.7 billion people in 2050, according to a recent paper, but only in a future in which there are socio-economic changes, significant shifts in diets towards plant-based foods, and limited biofuel production. Without dietary changes, crop production would have to increase by 119% by 2050.

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