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.

11 July 2012

FCRN mailing list member Kurt Schmidinger has recently been awarded his thesis on the following subject: "Worldwide Alternatives to Animal Derived Foods – Overview and Evaluation Models", subtitle "Solutions to Global Problems caused by Livestock".

11 July 2012

This report presents findings based on an interdisciplinary systems level scenario approach designed specifically to address complex societal problems. The project was funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute to explore how the UK food system may develop and change in response to futures bounded by more or less extreme climate impacts and emission cuts. The UK is taken as a case study to explore suites of possible futures that address adaptation, mitigation and demand.

21 May 2012

This article in the British Medical Journal argues that taxes on unhealthy foods could result in significant health gains. The article highlights a range of trials, studies and natural experiments (ie. observational studies) that examine the effect of price changes on behaviour. 

21 May 2012

The findings of this study are unlikely to surprise anyone – the research is based on experiments carried out in the US and the UK and finds that there is a strong connection in people’s minds between eating meat—especially muscle meat, like steak—and masculinity.

15 May 2012

This World Health Organisation ppt provides an overview of the causes, trends and impacts of chronic diseases worldwide, and points out very strongly that it’s increasingly a problem affecting poor people in the developing world. You can download the presentation here.

15 May 2012

The Royal Society has published a new report arguing that the most developed and the emerging economies must stabilise consumption levels, then reduce them, to help the poorest 1.3 billion people to escape absolute poverty through increased consumption. Alongside this, education and voluntary family planning programmes must be supported internationally to stabilise global population. 

25 April 2012

FCRN member Chris Foster has recently co-authored this paper, which argues that a focus on ‘greening’ individual products without changing the wider socio-economic context within which products are produced, marketed and consumed is likely to achieve very little.

29 February 2012

An interesting paper confirming what intuition might suggest – that men’s diets have a higher GHG burden than women’s because, (even allowing for the fact that men generally need to eat more) they tend to eat more meat; women’s diets are more water demanding due to their greater consumption of fruit and vegetables (the study looks at irrigation water rather than overall water).

9 February 2012

This paper, by FCRN mailing list member Mike Berners-Lee and others, examines the GHG implications of different dietary choices.

9 February 2012

Poorer families in Britain have cut the amount of fruit and vegetables they buy by almost a third to consume little over half the recommended five portions per day. Households in the lowest income bracket consistently bought smaller and smaller quantities of fruit and vegetables between 2006 and 2010, the most recent year for figures released by DEFRA.

24 January 2012

This paper looks at both production and consumption side resource efficiency measures focusing on a range of measures.

24 January 2012

This report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation asks whether changes towards ‘greener’ forms of consumption are compatible with preserving a minimum acceptable standard of living. 

28 April 2011

Plenary Lecture by Joe Millward and Tara Garnett, given at the Conference on ‘Over- and undernutrition: challenges and approaches’ published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

3 March 2011

This paper is by some of the same authors who wrote a paper for Friend of the Earth (see mailing of 23/10/10) which modelled the health impact of a lower meat diet. You can read the FoE report here.

The FOE report essentially argues that a lower meat diet would deliver major health improvements largely because it assumes that a reduction in meat intakes will be compensated for by an increase in fruit and vegetables – which of course may or may not be the case.

17 January 2011

This paper explores the contribution that our consumption of livestock products in the UK makes to greenhouse gases, the complexities associated with attempts at quantifying these impacts, the options for mitigation and the environmental and welfare challenges these options may present.

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