Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences

16 February 2016

This report by Dutch multinational banking and financial services company, Rabobank, argues for the need for a so-called “smarter food system” – that is, a food system incorporating and harnessing the latest technology at every stage, although they place particular emphasis on production-side measures.

3 February 2016

In this BBC Radio 4 programme, restaurateur Henry Dimbleby explores the historic and cultural relationship between the British and their meat, in particular the quintessentially British roast beef dinner. Dimbleby discusses his growing feeling of guilt at his meat consumption and his efforts to cut down, asking the key question: why is it so difficult?

17 December 2015

In this blog-post, various archetypes or tropes of consumers are portrayed and scrutinized. General claims about consumer behaviour that pervade the discourse of food politics are discussed and three archetypes are identified. The author, Dr Ben Richardson from the Department of Politics and International Studies at University of Warwick, describes and questions both the figures of the food consumer being presented to us and the ideological projects with which they are associated.

17 December 2015

Meat and dairy consumption have increased globally over the past fifty years. As livestock account for 80% of agriculture’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this article argues that to achieve climate targets, humans need to change their dietary habits.

17 December 2015

This paper by FCRN member Corné van Dooren and colleague Harry Aiking has been published in the International Journal of LCA. The study quantifies the historical Dutch diet of 80 years ago, based on cultural history research. The researchers calculate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and land use (LU) of this diet, using actual LCA data for the 206 most consumed products, and the health score, based on ten nutritional characteristics.

2 December 2015

This paper looks at public awareness of the environmental impacts of meat and attitudes to reducing meat consumption. The study, carried out in Scotland, was based on focus group discussions and individual interviews and tried to understand the cultural and social values associated with eating meat. It found a lack of awareness of the association between meat consumption and climate change, and suggested that individual dietary change will be difficult to achieve without addressing these values and beliefs.

16 November 2015

This white paper, produced by the independent sustainability company The Carbon Trust and sponsored by Quorn Foods, argues that greater diversity of main ingredients would be better for Britain both from a health and climate perspective. Increasing the diversity of UK protein choices is described as a practical way to promote more sustainable diets with lower impacts on health and environment.

16 November 2015

This paper presents an overview of policies and interventions aimed at addressing food loss and waste. It argues that to curtail food waste in higher income countries, measures such as clarifying food date labels could go a long way. Consumers are often confused by "use by," "best by" and "sell by" dates on food packaging and throw out perfectly edible food. Improving date labelling policy can also improve food safety.

9 November 2015

The Wellcome Trust has launched its public engagement initiative called The Crunch.  This consists of a website and a range of activities, experiences and discussions will be rolled out in 2016 which focus on food, our health and the planet.

11 September 2015

A new paper published in Global Environmental Change analyses 50 years of data from FAO (from 1961 to 2011) to try to understand the drivers for global agricultural land use change. Pasture forms the largest component of agricultural land globally, but previous research on agricultural land use has focused disproportionately on the role of arable crops. 

11 September 2015

The demand for meat is expected to double by 2050. Projections indicate that expanding the livestock industry to meet this demand would exceed biophysical limitations, dangerously exacerbating climate change and biodiversity loss. This paper uses an anthropological approach to explore an alternative meat source that not only avoids livestock’s pitfalls, but targets introduced pest species that have a history of profound destruction within Australian ecosystems.

3 September 2015

This report by Ipsos MORI and the British Behavioural Insights Team (who work on behavioural change and nudge-type policies) looks at how our behaviour is largely influenced by what we think others are doing.  The international study based on research from 6 countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France and Germany) shows that people in the UK often overestimate the bad behaviours of other people. It says that British people often think more people are avoiding tax than is really the case, and that they think that more people eat more than the recommended daily amount of sugar than really do.

18 June 2015

In this post on the Public Health England blog, Alison Tedstone discusses sustainable healthy diets and what such a diet can look like in the UK.  It particularly discusses the consumption and production of meat and dairy.

18 June 2015

This joint survey by the Food Standards Agency, Foodsafe and the Consumer Council in Northern Ireland finds that low ­income families need to spend at least one third of their weekly income on food if they want to eat healthily.  This percentage was the result when consumers were asked to select a realistic, healthy food basket that met the family’s taste requirements and included some special food items for visitors and social occasions.

18 June 2015

Germany has traditionally been a country with high meat consumption per capita, but a new study shows that young Germans are increasingly turning to vegetarian diets. The study market analyst company Mintel followed 1,000 people aged over 16 and their results show that nearly one in five (18%) Germans aged between 16 and 24 purchase meat-alternative products. This is comparable to the one in ten (11%) doing the same across all age groups.  A major challenge for this trend to consolidate however, is that only 14% of Germans say that they enjoy the taste of these products.

18 June 2015

This paper explores how food retailers assist consumers to make more climate smart food choices. 17 Swedish food retail representatives were interviewed and retailer websites studied and it was found that food retailers focus on their direct environmental impact as well as on organic food to drive more sustainable consumption.

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