Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumption and production trends

17 July 2018

The UK’s Eating Better alliance has published a survey of ready meals in the main UK supermarkets. The briefing reports that only 3% of the 1350 ready meals surveyed were entirely plant-based; vegetarian, plant-based and meat substitute meals altogether made up 14% of the meals surveyed; 77% of the meals contained meat; and 10% contained fish or seafood. Some retailers sell vegan and vegetarian ready meals at a higher price than other meals, most notably Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen vegan range, which is 67% more expensive than Tesco’s regular range. Nearly one third of meat-based meals did not specify the country of origin of the meat, while only three retailers included the meat in their own-brand ready meals under their farm animal welfare policies.

Image: CIAT, A bunch of avocados grown by a smallholder farmer near Palmira, southwestern Colombia, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
17 July 2018

Smallholders with farms under two hectares produce 28–31% of all crops and 30–34% of all food supply on 24% of the world’s agricultural land, according to a new paper. This contrasts with common claims that smallholders produce 70–80% of the world’s food. The paper also finds that, relative to larger farms, farms under two hectares have greater crop species diversity, allocate less of their crop outputs towards feed and processing and are important suppliers of fruit, pulses, roots and tubers.

Image: Charles Haynes, Dosa (rice pancake) with a cup of ghee (clarified butter) at Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
17 July 2018

FCRN member Dr Rosemary Green of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has published a paper that calculates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use associated with five dietary patterns in India. As shown below, GHG emissions per capita are highest for the “rice and meat” dietary pattern (at 1.2 tonnes CO2 eq. per year) and lowest for the “wheat, rice and oils” pattern (at 0.8 tonnes CO2 eq. per year). For comparison, per capita dietary GHG emissions in the UK have been estimated at 2.6 tonnes CO2 eq. per year for high meat eaters and 1.1 tonnes CO2 eq. per year for vegans (Scarborough et al., 2014). Water use is highest for the “wheat, rice and oils” pattern and lowest for the “rice and low diversity” pattern.

Image: K-State Research and Extension, Cattle feedlot, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 June 2018

FCRN member Martin Heller of the Centre for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan has calculated the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) and energy demand associated with the diets of individuals in the US, based on a one day dietary recall survey. The highest-emitting 20% of diets are responsible for 46% of diet-related GHGEs, while the lowest-emitting 20% of diets cause 6% of diet-related GHGEs. The food types causing the highest percentage of GHGEs are meats (57%), dairy (18%), beverages (6%) and fish and seafood (6%).

Image: Pxhere, dish food cooking, CC0 Public Domain
26 June 2018

This paper estimates greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) associated with the food purchased by US households (based on survey data) and examines the links between food GHGEs and demographic factors. It suggests that education on the links between food and climate could be targeted at more educated and more affluent consumers, since their research shows (see below) that the these households have more GHGE-intensive dietary patterns.

Image: Olearys, Alimentos Saudáveis à Mesa, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
5 June 2018

A new study published in Science has consolidated data on five environmental impact categories (land use, freshwater withdrawals weighted by local water scarcity, climate change, acidification and eutrophication) for 40 agricultural goods from over 38,000 farms. It finds that the environmental impacts of producing the same food are highly variable between different farms. It also finds that the environmental impacts of animal products are generally higher than plant-based products.

26 May 2018

This book, by Ludovica Principato, reviews information on consumer-level food waste, including the factors and behaviours affecting food waste levels, policies and initiatives.

9 May 2018

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has agreed to buy Asda from US supermarket Walmart. Together, Sainsbury’s and Asda will have a market share of 31% of the UK grocery sector, ahead of rival Tesco. The supermarkets claim that the merger will allow them to lower prices by 10% on many items.

26 March 2018

This book, edited by Fabricio Chicca, Brenda Vale and Robert Vale, calculates the environmental impacts of lifestyles around the world. FCRN readers may be particularly interested in Chapter 10, which looks at food.

Image: Steve Baker, No matter where you see litter it's still ugly, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

You can view the full video recording of the panel talk “Reinventing the plastic bottle” which was hosted by the Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy at Chatham House. Speakers discussed problems created by single-use plastic bottles and some possible solutions.

12 March 2018

Dutch shopping chain Ekoplaza has launched a plastic-free pop-up store in Amsterdam. Products sold include meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, fruit and vegetables. The aisle includes conventional packaging materials such as cardboard, glass and metal, but also introduces biodegradable replacements for plastic.

Image: Jorge Franganillo, Drowning by numbers, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
6 March 2018

This Buzzfeed story follows allegations that a Cornell researcher published studies obtained through the scientifically dubious method of ‘p-hacking’.

6 March 2018

Wilson Warren outlines the history of how meat became so popular, with a particular focus on government influences on meat-eating in East Asia.

Image: stu_spivack, hummus, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
6 March 2018

In this article, researchers aim to understand the factors predicting why people return to eating meat after adopting a non-meat diet. Since past research shows that political ideologies play a role in predicting meat consumption, the researchers’ focus is investigating to what extent these ideologies predict lapsing from vegan/vegetarian diets.

26 February 2018

This book, edited by Charis Michel Galanakis, describes the latest research on how food production and processing can become more sustainable.

Image: Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, 01194819376347000000106932_0.jpg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
26 February 2018

In this study, researchers investigated the interplay between meat consumption and personality traits, political views, and environmental attitudes.

Image: Maurice, British Houses of Parliament, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 February 2018

Brexit could affect food security and food prices in the UK, according to industry and academic voices.

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