A nutritional comparison and production perspective: reducing the environmental footprint of the future

S.U.K. Rohmer (Corresponding author), J.C. Gerdessen, G.D.H. Claassen, J.M. Bloemhof, P. van ’t Veer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The current food system, with its consumption and production activities, threatens our environment and depletes the resources of future generations. Changing the food system, by consuming foods with lower environmental footprint and choosing more environmental friendly production and distribution alternatives, holds potential to reduce the environmental impact. The aim of this research is to propose healthy and sustainable alternatives to the current consumption of cow's meat and dairy products in the Netherlands, under consideration of the underlying production system. Thus, the study applies linear programming techniques to construct consumption alternatives, taking into account the underlying production and sourcing of products. In this context, different environmental objectives are investigated and compared, namely climate change, land use, water use and fossil fuel depletion. Comparisons are made between the different alternatives with respect to their effect on the overall dietary intake. Four consumption alternatives are proposed, varying with respect to their environmental footprint, food composition and underlying food system. The results show that shifting towards a more plant-based consumption holds both an improvement potential in terms of the environmental impact as well as benefits from a health perspective. Moreover, trade-offs exist between the different environmental indicators, and the choice of environmental objective impacts the solution with respect to the consumption and production of foods. The research demonstrates the importance of taking production relationships into account and shows, that it is possible to propose healthy and environmental friendly alternatives for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1407-1417
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume196
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dietary alternatives
  • Environmentally sustainable consumption
  • Nutrient comparison
  • Sustainable food system

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