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.
The shift towards a more sustainable diet necessitates less reliance on foods of animal origin. This study presents data from a representative survey of Dutch consumers on their practices related to meat, meat substitution and meat reduction.
A report by the UK consumer group Which? calls for a new approach to how food issues are handled to give consumer interests much greater priority, based on:
- Strong Government leadership and a clear food strategy;
- Effective consumer engagement on food issues;
A new report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and McKinsey & Company looks at how India’s food production and consumption patterns are changing and argues that action is needed to close the yield gap and improve overall supply chain efficiency.
This commentary in the Nutrition and Cancer journal discusses some of the concerns related to the promotion of “miracle foods” by the media. The recommendation made in the study is that nutritional scientists and epidemiologists should be cognizant of the public health messages that are taken from their individual studies and not sensationalize the findings of a single study.
This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week.
Members may be interested in the various publications of the SPREAD project. This is an EU sponsored iniatiative that seeks to provide a social platform for research and engagement on sustainable consumption.
This is interesting, although not perhaps surprising, study finding that consumers are more likely to perceive an unhealthy food such as a candy bar as more healthful when it has a green coloured calorie label compared with when it had a red one - even though the number of calories are the same. And green coloured labels increase the perceived healthfulness of foods, especially among consumers who place high importance on healthy eating.
The Australian Government has published its new dietary guidelines. While these have been welcomed by many, the Public Health Association of Australia argues that, among other things, it represents a missed opportunity to incorporate environmental considerations into nutritional advice.
The guidelines are available here.
You can read the PHAA’s press release here.
This paper has been widely reported – and also misinterpreted. It has been publicised as a study which suggests that healthier diets (which seems to be conflated with one containing lower levels of meat and dairy) do not necessarily lead to reduced GHG emissions; however, a closer reading of the conclusions reveals otherwise.
FCRN member David Freudberg, host of the National Public Radio series “Humankind,” has written a blog for The Huffington Post arguing that diet is rarely discussed as a way to mitigate climate change. He notes that the recommendations being made by climate scientists on how to lessen our carbon footprint are also the same as those being made by health experts – diets higher in fruits, vegetables, and grains, and lower in meat.
You may be interested in this study co-authored by FCRN network member Toni Meier on diets and environmental impacts, published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.
A study regarding the efficiency of beetle larvae (mealworms) as a potential protein source was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Wageningen in Netherlands. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.
An article in Insights, the magazine of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), explores the complex issues of increasing livestock production and consumption. As consumption is flattening in the developed world, over the next several decades demand for meat will continue to increase in the developing world. The article also explores the need for raising livestock sustainably in order to mitigate negative impacts on human health and the environment.
This study by CE DELFT, a Dutch independent research and consultancy organisation , examines how food consumption patterns might be influenced in order to reduce food related GHG emissions. Its stated objective is to identify and analyse policy options which offer potential for achieving this goal.
Defra has published the results of a study which looked at the environmental impact of consuming foods that are produced locally in season. One of Defra’s current high level environmental behaviour goals is for consumers to eat more food that is locally in season.
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".