Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences
Food taxes & subsidies are effective at improving diets, according to a systematic review carried out by Australian researchers and published in the journal Nutrition Reviews. The systematic review analyses evidence from research published between January 2009 and March 2012 looking at the effectiveness of food taxes and subsidies on consumption. Included in the review were only papers assessing a specific food tax and those which directly and prospectively observed consumer responses to a fiscal policy intervention.
This new paper published in Nature Climate Change, focuses on food demand-side climate change mitigation options. It suggests that if current trends continue, food production alone will reach (if not exceed) the global targets for total greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Diet preferences are shifting globally toward meat-heavy western foods with a high GHG-impact and this, combined with a growing global population, imply that even if we manage to increase agricultural yields (through for example sustainable intensification), this will not be enough to meet projected food demands.
New data from Canadean based on a survey of 2000 individuals finds that many people in Britain are interested in trying insects and around 6% say that they would like to eat them regularly.
In 2013 the UK’s Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released the publication entitled Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012 which quantified the amounts, types and reasons for food and drink being wasted from UK households. It found that the amount of avoidable household food waste in 2012 (4.2 million tonnes per year) is equivalent to six meals every week for the average UK household. Preventing this food waste could save the average family up to £700 a year and deliver significant environmental benefits through landfill avoidance and by mitigating climate change (on the basis that this ‘unnecessary’ food would not need to be produced and hence all the costs associated with its production and distribution would be avoided).
This study is one of the very few that examines the GHG impacts of a selection of real life ‘self selected’ diets as opposed to those that are modelled or hypothetical. It looks specifically at the dietary patterns (based on a standard 2,000 kcal diet) of UK vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Approximately 55,500 subjects were chosen for the study, all part of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study.
This study from Monash University looks at the effects of introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages across different income groups, comparing impacts on consumption, bodyweight and tax burden. They compare between introducing a flat rate 20% valoric tax and a 20 c/L volumetric tax and find that for low-income households the volumetric tax leads both to greater per capita weight loss and lower tax burden.
The report investigates consumers’ meat eating patterns, the relationship with BMI, and their willingness to eat less meat or to eat meat that they may perceive to be ‘better’ in some way – eg. organic or free range.
This research from Wageningen University focuses on biotechnology and cultured meat. The same technology that is starting to be used to create new organs from stem cells, could in principle be used to produce meat.
Balancing on a Planet argues that while the current Anthropocene epoch presents unique challenges to our food system, including climate change, that threaten our survival, most solutions continue to follow the Neolithic strategy that has been dominant since the beginning of agriculture some 13,000 years ago.