Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumption and production trends

17 December 2015

Nitrite is used by the food industry as a preservation agent for meat products. Nitrite has multiple functions, it prevents lipid oxidation, maintains microbial quality and preserves flavour and colour. One of the main concerns of consumers is the possible carcinogenic effect nitrite could have in some meat products after the curing process (as reported by the WHO recently: see FCRN coverage here).

17 December 2015

This paper entitled Creating When You Have Less: The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Product Use Creativity, argues that resource scarcity actually translates into enhanced consumer product-use creativity.

17 December 2015

This paper by FCRN member Corné van Dooren and colleague Harry Aiking has been published in the International Journal of LCA. The study quantifies the historical Dutch diet of 80 years ago, based on cultural history research. The researchers calculate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and land use (LU) of this diet, using actual LCA data for the 206 most consumed products, and the health score, based on ten nutritional characteristics.

16 November 2015

This white paper, produced by the independent sustainability company The Carbon Trust and sponsored by Quorn Foods, argues that greater diversity of main ingredients would be better for Britain both from a health and climate perspective. Increasing the diversity of UK protein choices is described as a practical way to promote more sustainable diets with lower impacts on health and environment.

16 November 2015

This paper published in PLOS ONE, entitled Global Food Demand Scenarios for the 21st Century, describes a transparent method for constructing specific food demand scenarios for total and animal-based calories. It requires only population and income projections as input, with no information on the food supply side needed.

9 November 2015

The food and agriculture (F&A) industry must increase production, availability and access to food significantly over the next ten years if it is to meet the demands of a larger, increasingly urban global population according to a new report presented by Rabobank at Expo Milano 2015.

16 October 2015

The FAO argues in its latest version of the State of Food and Agriculture report SOFA that expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures. It argues that the vast majority of rural poor remain uncovered by social protection (only about a third of the world's poorest people are covered by any form of social protection).  Thus, expanding social protection programmes – including cash transfers, school feeding and public works - in rural areas and linking them to inclusive agricultural growth policies would rapidly reduce the number of poor people.

16 October 2015

Growing affluence and increasing demands for meat in China, a country where meat consumption has already quadrupled since 1971, will place a very high pressure on agricultural production and trade both in China and globally says a new PwC report entitled China’s agricultural challenges – roads to be travelled.

9 October 2015

These TED talks examine the problems linked to what we eat and offer some solutions. Speakers include: Jamie Oliver, Mark Bittman, Louise Fresco, Tristram Stuart, and Graham Hill.

9 October 2015

This paper by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) suggests that as much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year.  The paper shows that the majority of the waste is produced mainly at the consumer stage. The waste issue adds another layer of pressure on fish stocks and the global seafood supply that are already seriously threatened by overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and the use of fish for other purposes besides human consumption.

30 September 2015

This paper finds that increasing global demand for fish (due to increasing incomes and worldwide population growth) and developments in fishing methods together threaten to further increase pressure on the most popular fish types. It considers improvements in two areas that may decrease this pressure; increasing the production of farmed fish (aquaculture) and improving the effectiveness of fisheries management.

The authors assess how various scenarios of change would affect future wild stock status and simulate the stock development until the year 2048. Through different scenarios they outline ways that the fishery and aquaculture sectors might develop in the coming decades for four popular types of edible fish that are the most important for the world market;  sea bass, salmon, cod and tuna.

11 September 2015

A new paper published in Global Environmental Change analyses 50 years of data from FAO (from 1961 to 2011) to try to understand the drivers for global agricultural land use change. Pasture forms the largest component of agricultural land globally, but previous research on agricultural land use has focused disproportionately on the role of arable crops. 

11 September 2015

The demand for meat is expected to double by 2050. Projections indicate that expanding the livestock industry to meet this demand would exceed biophysical limitations, dangerously exacerbating climate change and biodiversity loss. This paper uses an anthropological approach to explore an alternative meat source that not only avoids livestock’s pitfalls, but targets introduced pest species that have a history of profound destruction within Australian ecosystems.

3 September 2015

This report is the result of the work of a Taskforce of academics, industry and policy experts commissioned to examine the resilience of the global food system to extreme weather. The summary report is built on three detailed reports: Climate and global production shocks (Annex A); Review of the responses to production shocks (Annex B) and the Country-level impacts of global grain production shocks (Annex C).

The report concludes that the global food system is vulnerable to production shocks caused by extreme weather, and that this risk is growing. It suggests that climate change and a growing population will increase the likelihood of food "shocks" - where the production of staple crops such as rice, wheat and soybean fall by 5-7%, arguing that it will triple in likelihood in just 25 years. The preliminary analysis of limited existing data suggests that the risk of a 1-in-100 year production shock is likely to increase to 1-in-30 or more by 2040.

3 September 2015

This study is the first to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale. It explains how global population growth has begun, in the past 50 years, to catch up with energy consumption for the first time in 500 years.  Until that point, each generation had produced more energy per person than its predecessor, which allowed for an increase in Earth's carrying capacity and in the number of people it could sustain at equilibrium.

16 July 2015

This report from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology summarises some emerging novel approaches in the food sector including controlled-environment farming, alternative animal feeds, edible insects, and lab-cultured meat.

Summary points are as follows:

26 June 2015

The Swedish environment and sustainability magazine Miljöaktuellt has carried out a survey of municipalities in Sweden which show that 4 out of 10 schools have implemented either a meat-free day a week or undertaken other activities that reduce meat consumption to an equivalent degree.  This number of participating schools represents an increase of 35% from the previous year.

12 June 2015

This report is produced as follow-on work to the Green Food Project, which focused on sustainable consumption and production. The Green Food Project report in July 2012 concluded that follow-on work was required to enable a broader and more sophisticated debate around the roles that diet and consumption play in the sustainability of the whole food system.

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