Knowledge for better food systems

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.

15 October 2020

This report from sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future presents findings from a pilot project with ten US school districts and food manufacturers, which aimed to increase consumption of plant-based food options by high school students. 

6 October 2020

This report from the EAT Forum examines current food consumption patterns and finds that most national dietary guidelines do not integrate both health and environmental sustainability. It finds that halving food-related greenhouse gas emissions in G20 countries by 2050 would contribute towards equitably feeding 10 billion people within planetary boundaries.

6 October 2020

This paper co-authored by FCRN member Emma Garnett finds that placing vegetarian options first on the counter of student cafeterias increases their sales by 5-6% when the different options are widely spaced (>1.5m), but not when the options are close together (<1.0m).

6 October 2020

This commentary piece, co-authored by FCRN member Elin Röös, argues that the message ‘less but better meat’ needs to be defined more clearly, since there is a risk that the message could actually push livestock production towards more harmful practices. 

23 September 2020

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett took part in a webinar titled “Do we need to stop eating meat and dairy to tackle climate change?” organised by Carbon Brief. The panel also included Prof Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen, Dr Helen Harwatt of Chatham House and Dr Modi Mwatsama of the Wellcome Trust. The webinar covered the climate impacts of different food types, carbon sequestration through restoration of native vegetation, health impacts of animal products and the cultural and economic factors influencing dietary patterns. 

9 September 2020

According to this report by UK NGO Eating Better, the proportion of UK supermarket ready meals that is plant-based has increased significantly, from 3% in 2018 to 16% in March 2020, with another 9% being vegetarian but not wholly plant-based. Morrisons, Asda and Aldi doubled the size of their meat free range in the last two years. 

9 September 2020

This study sets out the health impacts and environmental footprints of diets that meet the UK government’s Eatwell Guide recommendations, based on observational data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey. 

21 July 2020

This modelling study, co-authored by FCRN member Luke Spajic, analyses both the health and environmental outcomes of national dietary guidelines from 85 countries, then compares these outcomes to global health and environmental targets, as well as the outcomes of the diets recommended by the World Health Organisation and the EAT-Lancet Commission. The vast majority of guidelines - 83 in total, or 98% - were found to be incompatible with at least one health or environmental target.

23 June 2020

This handbook by US think tank Brighter Green is a guide for chefs on how to promote change towards a “plant-forward” food system. It includes sections on key concepts in food systems, the social, economic and environmental implications of the food system, how chefs can help to change the food system, examples of sustainable food initiatives, and practical tips on using plant-based ingredients.

17 June 2020

The Food Systems Dashboard has been developed by Johns Hopkins University and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. It brings together data on over 150 food system indicators, such as yields, climate, trade, dietary guidelines, non-communicable diseases and income. Users can compare regions and visualise indicators on a map.

17 June 2020

This book looks at how local food biodiversity can help to improve nutrition. Chapters cover the impacts of poor diets, evidence for the role of biodiversity in supporting healthy diets, agroecology, public food procurement, youth-led innovations and reframing food systems narratives.

17 June 2020

This briefing from UK NGO Sustain examines pressures on land in the UK and overseas, including the impacts of agriculture and the foods we choose to eat. It considers competing land uses such as biodiversity, hedgerows, food production, supporting new entrants into farming, climate mitigation, bioenergy production and land for leisure.

9 June 2020

This paper by FCRN member Anke Brons explores the meaning of inclusivity and exclusivity in sustainable diet recommendations, specifically in relation to the experience of Syrian migrants in the Netherlands. 

26 May 2020

In this episode of the Futuremakers podcast, Dr Monika Zurek and Dr Jim Woodhill of the Food Systems Group at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute discuss the future of food in the light of population growth, dietary choices and technologies such as lab-grown meat.

19 May 2020

FCRN member Sander Biesbroek of Wageningen University & Research has co-authored this paper, which is the first modelling study to include and monetise social costs and benefits of a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetables subsidy in the Netherlands. It finds that all three interventions could lead to a net benefit to society over a 30 year time frame.

19 May 2020

This commentary piece draws on the experience of nutrition labelling to explore whether environmental sustainability labelling on food products can encourage more sustainable food choices and contribute towards building a healthy, sustainable food system.

12 May 2020

This paper explores the association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and indicators of obesity in a sample of the UK adult population, using data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey between 2008 and 2016. 

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