How can huge populations be fed healthily, equitably and affordably while maintaining the ecosystems on which life depends? The evidence of diet’s impact on public health and the environment has grown in recent decades, yet changing food supply, consumer habits and economic aspirations proves hard.
This book explores what is meant by sustainable diets and why this has to be the goal for the Anthropocene, the current era in which human activities are driving the mismatch of humans and the planet. Food production and consumption are key drivers of transitions already underway, yet policy makers hesitate to reshape public eating habits and tackle the unsustainability of the global food system.
The authors propose a multi-criteria approach to sustainable diets, giving equal weight to nutrition and public health, the environment, socio-cultural issues, food quality, economics and governance. This six-pronged approach to sustainable diets brings order and rationality to what either is seen as too complex to handle or is addressed simplistically and ineffectually. The book provides a major overview of this vibrant issue of interdisciplinary and public interest. It outlines the reasons for concern and how actors throughout the food system (governments, producers, civil society and consumers) must engage with (un)sustainable diets.
1. Sustainable Diets: Welcome to the Arguments
2. Methodologies: Measuring what Matters while Not Drowning in Complexity
3. Health: Nutrition Science and the Messy Effects of Diet on Health
4. Environment: Why Food Drives Ecosystems Stress
5. Culture: the Social Conditions Shaping Eating Patterns
6. Food quality: Everyone Likes their Own Food
7. Real Food Economics: Runaway Costs and Concentration
8. Policy and Governance: Will Anyone Unlock the Consumption Lock-in?
9. Conclusions: Why Sustainable Diets Matter Now