Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Socio-economic determinants of health

26 February 2015

This new series of papers from the Lancet summarises the latest available knowledge on obesity and what can be done to address the problem. The series introduction describes how today’s food environments exploits people’s biological, psychological, social, and economic vulnerabilities, making it easier for them to eat unhealthy foods. This in turn reinforces preferences and demands for foods of poor nutritional quality, furthering the unhealthy food environments. The authors call for regulatory actions from governments and increased efforts from industry and civil society to break these vicious cycles.

12 February 2015

This paper investigates the environmental impact of the diets of Australian households at different income quintiles. The paper looked at 2003 household consumption and argues that income affects the environmental impacts of household diet, with higher income corresponding to higher impacts. The higher the income bracket the more was spent on food and this translated through to a higher environmental impact (GHG CO2e, water, waste, energy) at higher incomes.

29 January 2015

This paper explores links between lifestyles, diet and health in Italian generations X (born: 1966-1976) and Y (born 1980-2000), and compares their dietary preferences, using the years 2001 and 2011 as reference points. The researchers argue that policy needs to address specific segments of these generations more likely to eat an unhealthy diet and to focus on behaviour change through communication campaigns.

29 January 2015

This study surveys Italian consumers to explore whether there is a relationship between health and environmental sustainability concerns in their food choices.


The objective of the study is to analyze if there is a relationship between health and environmental sustainability concerns in food choices. We used data of 300 Italian consumers collected through a vis-à-vis survey. We performed cross-tabulations and chi-square tests for a selected set of variables measuring both types of concerns, segmenting the sample by age, gender and education.

15 October 2014

Novel use of UK national data finds a growing gap between the prices of more and less healthy foods between 2002 and 2012. Healthy foods in 2012 were three times more expensive per calorie than less healthy foods.

Food prices in the UK have risen faster than the price of other goods in recent years, and this new study, which tracked the price of 94 key food and beverage items from 2002 to 2012, shows that the increase has been greater for more healthy foods, making them progressively more expensive over time.

15 September 2014

This paper on sustainable diets, published in Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, provides evidence on the most effective ways to influence consumers to adopt sustainable diets. The evidence comes from a pilot study on a group of 163 Australians who would be expected to be ‘early adopters’ of a sustainable diet (due to their higher than average education and income).

9 July 2014

This paper critiques the concept of sustainable intensification as follows: “Though often lauded by scientists and policy makers alike as a panacea to the mass environmental degradation that accompanies typical food production processes, the authors find that ‘sustainable intensification’ is actually highly unsustainable as it fails to consider the long run social, economic and ecological consequences of intensified production. Thus the authors aim to redefine the scope of the discourse, moving beyond simple calls for increased production capacities to instead enmesh food security within a more holistic approach to development which requires better governance, more empowerment, and greater access and fairer distribution of food within more resilient food systems. Ultimately, sustainable intensification is rendered worthless if those facing dire food insecurity remain unable to access the yields of increasing production.“ 

23 June 2014

This study from Monash University looks at the effects of introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages across different income groups, comparing impacts on consumption, bodyweight and tax burden.  They compare between introducing a flat rate 20% valoric tax and a 20 c/L volumetric tax and find that for low-income households the volumetric tax leads both to greater per capita weight loss and lower tax burden.

2 May 2014

Abstract: Taking as a starting point that hunger results from social exclusion and distributional inequities and that lasting, sustainable and just solutions are to be found in changing the structures that underlie our food systems, this book examines how law shapes global food systems and their ongoing transformations.

27 March 2014

This report describes what the policy world would look like if we genuinely prioritised increasing subjective wellbeing – life satisfaction, happiness and living a life that feels worthwhile. 

28 January 2014

The Good Enough to Eat Index highlights some of the areas of critical concern for many countries when it comes to making sure that people can eat well, and indicates some important failings of the global food system that must be addressed. The index is an interactive snapshot of 125 countries showing the best and worst places in the world to eat, and the challenges people face getting enough of the right food. It was constructed to illustrate how overconsumption, misuse of resources and waste are common elements of a system where one in eight people suffer from hunger, while there is enough food to feed the global population.