Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Theory, methods and tools

There are different ways to analyse and evaluate impacts from food production and consumption. This section highlights papers that introduce specific methodologies, tools and theories that can be used as a guide or reference when developing a research or policy approach.

Image: Louise.ward, Blue Apron meal kit, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
8 May 2019

This paper calculates the environmental impacts (climate change, acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use) caused by either making a meal by using a meal kit (which contains pre-portioned ingredients for cooking a meal) or by buying the ingredients from a grocery store.

29 April 2019

This book by Darrin Qualman argues that, to avoid the collapse of civilisation, the global economy must reshape its material and energy flows away from linear, extractive patterns towards a circular model. The book includes a chapter on food production.

Image: kschneider2991, Money tower coins, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
29 April 2019

Decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth is unlikely to happen quickly enough to meet the Paris climate targets of limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, according to this paper. Furthermore, both historical trends and model-based projections suggest there is no evidence that resource use and economic growth can be absolutely decoupled at the global scale in the context of continued economic growth.

Image: Eric, Cooked shrimp, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
24 April 2019

This paper quantifies the resource use implications of replacing fishmeal with plant-based ingredients in the feed used to farm shrimp. It finds that increasing the proportion of plant-based ingredients in shrimp feed could reduce pressure on marine resources, at the cost of increased use of freshwater, land and fertiliser.

Image: Sander van der Wel, Full shopping cart (seen from above), Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
24 April 2019

This paper by FCRN member Claire Pulker of Curtin University analyses the presence and quality of supermarket corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies related to all attributes of public health nutrition, including sustainability. The paper audited Australian supermarket own brand foods to establish the extent to which CSR policies are translated into practice.

17 April 2019

FCRN member Tom Quested of resource efficiency organisation WRAP Global recommends the REFRESH Community of Experts, which is an online platform to find and share information (such as best practices) on food waste prevention.

17 April 2019

This book, edited by Andrew Kennedy and Jennifer McEntire, examines issues of food traceability throughout the food system, including current challenges, research and potential solutions.

16 April 2019

This report explains several trends and issues impacting the edible fats and oils system, including increasing demand, land use, public health, climate impacts, restrictions on trans fats, the search for alternatives to palm oil and soy, and supply chain transparency.

8 April 2019

Former FCRN volunteer Milorad Plavsic now works at the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), part of UK Research and Innovation. He has provided some information for FCRN readers on the funding opportunities available through the GCRF.

8 April 2019

In this Food Talk podcast by US think-tank Food Tank, Dr. Mariame Maiga (Regional Gender and Social Development Advisor for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development) discusses the role that gender plays in agricultural and sustainable development.

8 April 2019

This report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics estimates the value of ten ecosystems services provided by natural capital in Scotland. Information on agricultural biomass (including fish capture) and carbon sequestration may be of particular interest to FCRN readers.

8 April 2019

This short guide by the UK food and farming alliance Sustain offers advice on drafting and delivering local food poverty action plans. The guide discusses several case studies from around the UK.

8 April 2019

This policy briefing from EU food waste research project REFRESH outlines how ‘Voluntary Agreements’ between stakeholders throughout the supply chain can be used to reduce food waste, and makes policy suggestions to favour the creation of such agreements.

Image: Maxhavel, Max Havelaar Bananen, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
8 April 2019

This paper uses consumer surveys from the UK and Germany to explore how the intention to purchase food with ethical claims is affected by the so-called “warm glow” of altruism, i.e. “a feeling people experience when performing an apparent altruistic act”.

Image: NASA, Deforestation in the state of Rondônia in western Brazil, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
8 April 2019

Around 15% of the carbon dioxide emissions from food consumption in the European Union are due to deforestation, according to this paper, which traces the links between final consumers and the expansion of agriculture (including both crops and pasture) and tree plantations into tropical forests. Depending on the model used, 29% to 39% of tropical deforestation emissions were attributed to the production of goods for export.

Image: Pxhere, Landscape water grass, Public Domain
26 March 2019

This paper assesses the agricultural water use efficiency of different food types based on their nutrient content, instead of the conventional approach of assessing water use in terms of litres used to produce a certain weight of food. The purpose of the study is to determine whether higher intakes of nutrient-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and seeds might conflict with the aim of minimising agriculture’s water use.

Image: DanaTentis, Sardines fish lunch, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
26 March 2019

FCRN member Christian Reynolds uses linear programming to calculate diets that meet both health and greenhouse gas emission criteria while being affordable for different income groups in the UK. Generally, the optimised diets are higher in plant-based foods than diets consumed in the UK in 2013, although seafood is higher in the optimised diet than in 2013 diets.

Image: Impossible Foods Media Kit, IF Impossible Burger 08
20 March 2019

FCRN member Alexandra Sexton describes the narratives and counter-narratives that have been used to talk about alternatives such as cultured meat and plant-based meat replacements.

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