What are priority research questions for the UK food system?

Monday, September 2, 2013 - 11:45

The Global Food Security Programme, working with Cambridge University, recently completed a project to identify priority research questions for the UK food system. The full results are published online in the journal Food Security.

In a blog post on the Global Food Security Programme website, John Ingram explains the process they went through to establish these research priorities, and summarises the outcomes.

John explains that whilst it is important to research questions about food production, we must not forget to look at the whole 'food chain' and 'food system', "especially when an adaptation, such as introducing a novel food processing technology, has consequences for other food security elements."

Examples of the research questions that came out of this project are:

  • How can primary food production be sustainably intensified whilst maintaining or enhancing the nutritional value of those food items?
  • How can the fat, sugar, preservative and salt content of foods be reduced while ensuring that palatability is maintained, waste is minimised, and food remains safe and does not spoil?
  • Which intervention (or combination of interventions) would be most effective in achieving changes in consumption decisions and which types of intervention (e.g. awareness raising campaigns, choice editing, education, legislation or regulatory) are most appropriate for specific contexts and decisions?
  • Under which circumstances are the various channels for using food waste (including anaerobic digestion, feeding it to animals, composting, land-spreading etc.) socially, environmentally and economically preferable?

Read John's blog article about this here.

The full results from the project are available in the journal Food Security.

Photo of supermarket checkout from Wikimedia Commons by Velela.

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