Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Europe

Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

23 September 2020

An recording of the launch event for the UK’s National Food Strategy, held on 29 July 2020, is now available online. The National Food Strategy is a year-long review of the UK’s food system. Read more about the review here and read the FCRN’s summary of Part One of the review here.

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. 

23 September 2020

In this book, farmer and writer James Rebanks describes how the landscape and community that his family farm is part of has changed over the past few decades as farming methods have become more intensive.

23 September 2020

In this report, UK food waste NGO Feedback critically assesses the narrative that anaerobic digestion (AD) is a viable solution for producing renewable gas from organic matter such as crops and wastes. The report argues that preventing food waste in the first place is more effective than generating biogas from waste food, particularly if trees were to be planted on the land spared.

23 September 2020

This report from the UK charity the Soil Association examines how disruption to the nitrogen cycle can damage the climate, biodiversity and human health. It proposes replacing widespread use of synthetic fertilisers with agroecological use of nitrogen-fixing legumes and manure from grass-fed livestock. 

23 September 2020

This paper reports that reforesting areas of land in the UK currently used for sheep grazing could be an economically viable strategy for farmers, using payments for carbon sequestration from people or businesses who want to offset their emissions The paper argues that sheep farming in the UK is not profitable without subsidies, which currently account for over 90% of sheep farm income. 

9 September 2020

The UK government has proposed a new law that would require large businesses to prove that their supply chains for commodities (including beef, cocoa, palm oil and soya) do not contain products that have been produced on illegally deforested land. The proposals would cover commodities embedded within other products, such as animals fed on soy or palm oil used as an ingredient.

9 September 2020

In this report, UK non-profit Forum for the Future argues that chefs have an important role to play in providing healthy and sustainable diets. The report sets out a vision of future chef training that focuses less on meat and dairy and more on “ethical, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients”.

9 September 2020

This report by UK sustainability consultancy 3Keel assesses the quantity, origin and certification status of soy in the supply chains of animal products sold by 11 European retailers (including UK supermarkets such as ALDI, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s). It finds that 25% of this soy footprint was claimed to be free of deforestation - an increase over the previous year’s figure. The remaining 75% of the soy footprint is not claimed to meet any deforestation-free standard.

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. 

27 August 2020

UK cultured meat startup Higher Steaks has created one of the world’s first lab-grown pork products (Mission Barns claims to have created, but not publicised, a lab-grown bacon prototype in May 2020). The Higher Steaks pork belly is made of 50% cultivated cells, and the bacon product contains 70% cultivated cells, with the remaining material being plant-based.

27 August 2020

Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, has launched a new blog called The Better Food Journey. In this blog post, Hawkes discusses the complexities of regulating the marketing of unhealthy food, noting that without advertising, food companies may instead try to compete by cutting prices or adding sugar. The blog post is topical since in July 2020 the UK government announced new restrictions on the advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

27 August 2020

Part One of the UK’s National Food Strategy has now been published. The National Food Strategy is a major review of the food system, leading to new policy recommendations (read about its launch here). Part One contains recommendations for supporting the UK’s food system (focusing on England) through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as advice on preparing for the end of the EU Exit transition period (31 December 2020).

26 August 2020

This article argues that “super low carbon cows” (cows that emit lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cows with the help of breeding, technology or livestock management practices) can be thought of as a form of geoengineering. The author argues that the promise of “super low carbon cows” is being used by some corporations to position business as part of the solution to climate change, while neglecting to address factors such as lifestyle and market structures.

21 July 2020

UK NGO the Food Foundation has published its Plating up Progress 2020 analysis of the progress being made by major UK-operating businesses within the food retail, foodservice and restaurant chain sectors across key themes relating to the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system.

21 July 2020

This progress report from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change assesses progress in reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions over the past year and makes recommendations on how to ensure the post-COVID-19 recovery is green and resilient. It includes discussions of agriculture, diets and land-use change.

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