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.
In this opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper, Jess Fanzo and Mario Herrero argue that food producers, consumers and governments all need to make changes to help reduce the climate impact of the food system.
This book questions whether the rising demand for meat is indeed driven mainly by wealth and argues that the consumption of cheap meat is linked to economic insecurity. It also questions the view that the modern human brain evolved because of the consumption of meat.
The book chapter Why sustainable plant-based diets are needed to reverse the food-climate-health-equity crisis by FCRN member David A Cleveland, part of the book Plant-based diets for succulence and sustainability, argues that plant-based diets are a key part of the response to the interlinked crises in food, climate, health and inequality.
An audio recording of the 2019 Mansholt Lecture, organised by Wageningen University & Research, is available. The lecture, which took place on 18 September 2019, discussed the challenges of future protein production and consumption, including protein from plants, animals and microorganisms.
FCRN member Anna Birgitte Milford of the NIBIO (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) has co-authored this paper, which studies the impact of various variables on meat total meat and ruminant meat consumption levels (both total and ruminant) in 137 countries. The paper assesses factors which had previously not been used together in similar analyses, including economic, cultural and natural factors (e.g. land availability and climate).
This paper models the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water footprints of both baseline consumption patterns and nine different healthy diets that prioritise plant ingredients for 140 countries. The authors find large differences in GHG and water footprints between countries, with vegan, two-thirds vegan or “low food chain” (including insects, molluscs and forage fish) diets generally leading to the greatest footprint reductions.
This paper models the global land use change implications of three different dietary scenarios up to the year 2100: business as usual with a continued shift away from pulses and starchy roots and towards animal products; a 95% global reduction in consumption of ruminant products compared to business as usual, with ruminant products to be replaced by cereals, pulses, starchy roots and oilcrops but other meat types to be consumed as in business as usual; and a 95% reduction in consumption of both ruminant and monogastric products.
This opinion piece in The Hill by Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, argues that the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (which is reviewing the guidelines for their 2020-2025 edition) is strongly influenced by the food industry and that the committee will not be allowed to conduct a full review of the evidence on questions such as food sustainability.
The World Resources Institute has released its full and final report on “Creating a sustainable food future”. The report addresses the question “Can we feed the world without destroying the planet?”, specifically asking whether the food system can feed nearly 10 billion people adequately by 2050, without expanding the area of agricultural land, and while avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.
FCRN member Gesa Biermann of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich has co-authored this paper, which analyses trends on a popular German recipe website, finding annual growth rates of 16% in vegetarian recipes and 3.5% in vegan recipes between 2005 and 2018.
FCRN member Peter Alexander has co-authored this paper, which finds that incremental improvements in several areas of the food system (including production efficiency, reducing food waste and changing diets) could reduce agricultural land use by between 21% and 37%, depending on adoption rates.
This annual report from Menus of Change, a joint initiative by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provides guidance for the foodservice sector on how to choose menus and select ingredients in ways that are beneficial to health and the environment.
A jury-style event hosted by the UK’s Food Ethics Council finds that a meat tax is too simplistic. The event saw four “expert witnesses” give evidence on the impacts of meat and sugar taxes, the environmental impacts of grazing livestock, and the health impacts of consuming processed and ultra-processed meat.
Organic charity the Soil Association is calling for the UK government to introduce a mandatory meat-free day each week for school catering to tackle climate change and increase fibre intake, noting that few schools currently follow the voluntary plant-based day recommended by the current School Food Standards.
FCRN member Charlotte Kildal has co-authored this paper documenting the Norwegian Armed Forces’ attempt to introduce the Meatless Monday campaign, where only vegetarian meals are served on one day each week. The paper found that the initiative had mixed results.
College students who take a course on food and the environment reduce their reported ruminant meat consumption by 28% relative to their consumption prior to the course, according to this paper by FCRN member Jennifer Jay of UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering.
According to this randomised controlled trial, people eat an average of 500 kcal more per day when offered ultra-processed food compared to unprocessed food (as defined by the NOVA system). Furthermore, the trial subjects gained weight on the ultra-processed diet and lost weight on the unprocessed diet.