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.
This prospective cohort study of more than 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists finds a 12% reduction in all-cause mortality in vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians as compared with their omivorous counterparts.
IFPRI has published an infographic showing the relationship between GDP and childhood stunting on the one hand; and between economic growth and overweight/obesity on the other.
The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the UK supermarket Tesco will monitor the healthiness of its customers’ food purchases using Clubcard data and then use that data to suggest ways in which people could make healthier choices. Although plans are still in the early stages options considered so far include offering vouchers for healthier products and promoting a better diet via suggested recipes.
This report is a summary of the efforts of LiveWell for LIFE and the Network of European Food Stakeholders to find the most important social and economic barriers and opportunities for sustainable diets in Spain, France and Sweden and in the wider EU.
One of FCRN’s network members, Holly Cecil, has produced a documentary entitled Eating for a Healthy Planet – A conversation with Canadians. Launched on Earth Day 2013, the documentary addresses the links between diets and the environment. It was produced under the auspices of the Human Dimensions of Climate Change program at the University of Victoria (BC).
Europe’s food industry workers and manufacturers, represented by the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), and FoodDrinkEurope respectively, have issued a joint statement opposing what they see as “discriminatory taxes” introduced by some EU member states to discourage the consumption of certain foods, in favour of “broader measures to encourage responsible eating habits and positive behavioural change among consumers in Europe.”
This is an interesting study which tests preferences for sugar, fat, salt and umami (savoury-ness) among children in a range of European countries. It finds that children’s liking for these tastes varies by country, suggesting that culture has a very strong part to play in influencing food preferences. While hardly a major revelation in itself, what I take from this study is that the very common assumptions we see about the ‘inevitability’ of growth in demand for high fat and high sugar foods, or for meat products, are open to challenge.
This report looks at the role of consumption based emissions (i.e. taking into account emissions embedded in imported goods) in contributing to the UK’s overall carbon footprint. It covers past trends and sets out future scenarios for UK consumption emissions. It also looks at the lifecycle emissions of low-carbon technologies in order to understand how their deployment would impact the UK’s carbon footprint.
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.