UK supermarkets are only reporting patchily on their efforts to promote healthy diets and improve the nutritional profiles of their products; solutions for conserving insects on agricultural land; and an overview of the global opportunities for reducing methane emissions.
Eating Better argues that chicken - often recommended as a replacement for red meat - comes with costs to health and the environment, including through the links between soy feed production for chicken farming and deforestation; a review paper finds that we don’t yet know the details of how people might be exposed to microplastics through food, water and air; and a report looks at the growing and varied alternative protein sector in Asia.
Climate change could cause the areas suitable for certain crops to expand to new regions, with implications for soil carbon loss, water use and biodiversity; zero deforestation commitments in the Brazilian soy sector have limited effects in protecting the Cerrado biome; consumers might be wasting more than double the amount of food previously estimated; and a blog post questions whether the degrowth movement gives enough attention to animals.
Human uses of the ocean are growing rapidly and interacting with each other; guidance from WRAP on when to use compostable plastic packaging; Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People project has published a new series of blog posts exploring controversies in the food system; and Veg Power estimates that its “Eat them to defeat them” advertising campaign persuaded 650,000 children to eat more vegetables.
A report calls for a revival of “county farms” in the UK - farms owned by local authorities - to promote social and environmental benefits; a new online toolkit, SHARE IT, allows food sharing initiatives to document and communicate the impact of their activities; soil erosion rates can be highly discontinuous between neighbouring countries.
New Foodsource Building Block: What is feed-food competition?
Should grains and other edible crops ever be fed to livestock, rather than directly to people?
This is the question at the heart of the debate on feed-food competition - the tensions and trade-offs between using resources to feed people or livestock - which we explore in our new explainer piece published last week:
A paper compares the nutrient content of plant-based meat analogues and traditional meat products, finding that the nutritional composition varies by brand and no general comparative conclusions can be drawn; the top five most likely global risks all relate to the environment, according to the World Economic Forum; and the World Resources Institute gives tips to food service outlets on nudging customers towards plant-based dishes.
FCRN member Francesca Harris reviews the water use of dietary patterns around the world; a study assesses synergies and tradeoffs between human nutrition, environmental impact and animal welfare when switching from current diets to nationally recommended diets; replacing some rice production with sorghum and millet could improve nutrient supplies, reduce environmental impacts and improve climate resilience in India; the FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed by ffinlo Costain of Farmwel on the Farm Gate podcast; and George Monbiot argues in a controversial documentary that much of today’s farming will be replaced by fermentation of microbes.
Feedback argues that sugar beet production in the UK is particularly damaging to soil; The Lancet has produced a series of papers on the double burden of malnutrition; and a paper by FCRN member Christian Reynolds finds that differences in household food carbon footprints in Japan are heavily influenced by consumption of restaurant food, confectionery, alcohol, fish and vegetables, rather than meat, as meat consumption is spread fairly evenly across households in Japan.