Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences
In this post on the Defra Sustainable development Scene, Toby Pickard, Senior Sustainability Analyst at the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) in the UK, looks at shopper attitudes towards achieving a sustainable diet, the challenges surrounding this and the implications for the food and consumer goods industry.
The UK’s Family Food report provides detailed statistics on food and drink purchases, expenditure and the derived nutrient content of those purchases from a large household survey covering the United Kingdom. It looks specifically at the domestic, household level.
Chapters include: purchases and expenditure, energy and nutrient intakes, geographic and demographic comparisons as well as a chapter on dietary trends.
This study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has an interesting approach to capturing changes in diets by country. It uses an ecological metric – trophic levels – to calculate different dietary patterns across different countries and to examine how these patterns - and their trophic levels – have changed over time (1961-2009).
The Irish CONSENSUS research project on sustainable household consumption has launched a set of two-minute video animations on their research. CONSENSUS aims to advance understanding of the drivers shaping everyday household consumption practices and to identify policy, technology and educational interventions to facilitate sustainable living. We are highlighting three of their videos here.
The European Union is funding a project entitled PROteINSECT to investigate the efficacy and safety in using insect protein as a source of animal feed. The project will also investigate the potential for using insects for human consumption. Currently insect protein is only allowed in shellfish feed within the EU and forbidden for other animal feed or for human consumption.
This report updates WRAP’s 2007 report The Food We Waste which exposed the full scale of the food waste problem for the first time. It identifies how much food is wasted in UK homes, which foods are wasted most and why, and how much that waste costs. The WRAP research reveals a substantial reduction in the amount of household food and drink waste arising between 2007 and 2012, while also highlighting the scale of the opportunity remaining.
This report from IGD highlights consumers' attitudes towards adopting a more environmentally sustainable and healthy diet. Some of the report's main findings are:
- Shoppers are feeling more empowered about sustainable diets, but still require industry to take the lead in this area and to inspire them
- Nearly half of shoppers say healthy options are important compared to one in five that consider ethical factors
The UK-based Eating Better alliance has published the findings of a survey which finds that :
• 25% of the British public say they are eating less meat than a year ago
• 34% are willing to consider eating less meat
• One in six (17%) young people say they don’t eat any meat
As the FCRN has previously reported, the EU commission recently held a consultation (now closed) aimed at exploring how we as a society might move towards a more resource efficient and sustainable food system. The public consultation included discussions on a number of areas for action:
Taking as its starting point the mounting evidence pointing to the need for consumption changes aimed at achieving healthier and more sustainable diets, this research highlights the process of constructing an ecological foodprint tool (www.voedingscentrum.nl). It seeks to contribute to greater understanding of the role that social networks and social media can play in informing dietary choices. The foodprint tool has the following features: 1) its focuses on food only; 2) it is designed to encourage interaction by the users; and 3) it incorporates recommendations for achieving a healthy diet with a lower foodprint.
In this study, researchers contrast values and psychological associations and underpinnings of vegetarianism across cultural contexts. The paper focuses on different perceptions among vegetarians and omnivores with regards to the impact of their daily food choices on the environment and animal welfare, universalistic motives and beliefs that eating meat is polluting. The study analyzes vegetarianism in USA and India and concludes that in USA the primary concerns are universalism, animal and environmental welfare while in India purity, pollution, authority, and tradition are primary concerns.
This paper explores how far changes in consumers’ diets can lead to reductions in food related GHG emissions. While previous studies have looked at the relative mitigation impact of switching to vegetarian and vegan diets, this paper estimates the contribution that the average UK diet makes to GHG emissions. It does so by combining the GHG emissions from 66 different food categories with self-reported dietary information. The average GHG impact that the authors arrive at is 8.8 kg CO2 eq per person – including both food eaten and the embedded emissions in food wasted (post-purchase).
FAO published a new report in September 2013 with revised estimates for GHG emissions from livestock. The “Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock: a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities” report and two accompanying technical reports are long awaited since they include an updated estimate of the livestock sector’s GHG contribution - putting the figure at a lower 14.5 percent of global human-caused emissions, compared to 18 percent in the previous report from 2006.