Special Issue "Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Christopher Wharton
Website
Guest Editor
College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
Interests: plant-based diets; food waste; healthy lifestyle behavior change; local food systems; food system sustainability
Dr. Jane Kolodinsky
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Interests: food demand; food and health; food system policy; behavior change
Dr. Josh MacFayden
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Arts, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada, and Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
Interests: food system sustainability; environmental humanities; history of food and energy; agricultural history; biomass; food policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, considerable focus has been placed on exploring the complexities, trade-offs, and opportunities of a systems approach to food and nutrition. Multi-disciplinary literature already exists focusing on larger-scale concerns, such as adaptation of agricultural systems, food policy, and governance. This Special Issue of Sustainability seeks papers that further explore food systems with a specific focus on the importance of the consumer. In particular, how have food consumption patterns changed among individuals and families, and what personal, cultural, economic, and environmental factors have driven these changes? How have consumers' needs, rights, and customs been understood and shaped by national and global food agencies, and how have those changed over time? How do consumers negotiate the trade-offs of food consumption and values, for instance in seeking healthful foods despite potential detrimental social or environmental impacts in the same set of food choices? What behavior change strategies show success in helping consumers adopt more sustainable diets, or decrease household food waste, or otherwise take into consideration multiple, potentially contending values related to dietary patterns? What market nudges, if any, impact consumer behavior? Finally, how can or does individual choice aggregate into social movements and norms that more broadly reflect a new set of consumer behaviors supporting a healthier food system for individuals, households, organizations, and society?

Dr. Christopher Wharton
Dr. Jane Kolodinsky
Dr. Josh MacFayden
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Dietary intake
  • behavior change
  • food environment
  • food waste
  • history of consumption
  • plant-based diets
  • food systems
  • sustainability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Comparing the Environmental Impacts of Meatless and Meat-Containing Meals in the United States
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226235 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study compares the environmental impacts of meatless and meat-containing meals in the United States according to consumption data in order to identify commercial opportunities to lower environmental impacts of meals. Average consumption of meal types (breakfast, lunch, dinner) were assessed using life [...] Read more.
This study compares the environmental impacts of meatless and meat-containing meals in the United States according to consumption data in order to identify commercial opportunities to lower environmental impacts of meals. Average consumption of meal types (breakfast, lunch, dinner) were assessed using life cycle assessment. Retail and consumer wastes, and weight losses and gains through cooking, were used to adjust the consumption quantities to production quantities. On average, meatless meals had more than a 40% reduction in environmental impacts than meat-containing meals for any of the assessed indicators (carbon footprint, water use, resource consumption, health impacts of pollution, and ecosystem quality). At maximum and minimum for carbon footprint, meat-containing dinners were associated with 5 kgCO2e and meatless lunches 1 kg CO2e. Results indicate that, on average in the US, meatless meals lessen environmental impacts in comparison to meat-containing meals; however, animal products (i.e., dairy) in meatless meals also had a substantial impact. Findings suggest that industrial interventions focusing on low-impact meat substitutes for dinners and thereafter lunches, and low-impact dairy substitutes for breakfasts, offer large opportunities for improving the environmental performance of the average diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle
Future Grain Consumption Trends and Implications on Grain Security in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195165 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Associated with population and income growth, grain consumption in China is expected to increase, and thus has inevitably influenced the food security. Using statistical data of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from 1978 to 2017, this study adopting [...] Read more.
Associated with population and income growth, grain consumption in China is expected to increase, and thus has inevitably influenced the food security. Using statistical data of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from 1978 to 2017, this study adopting the vector auto-regression (VAR) model and implied demand approach, projected the future consumption of major grains (rice, wheat, maize, and soybean) for food, feed, and other uses in China during 2018–2030. On this basis, it further discussed their implications on grain security. The results showed that during 2018–2030, the Chinese dietary structure would continue to shift from food grain to animal foods. As a result, the grain’s food consumption will decrease slightly (1.5%), while the feed consumption will increase significantly (31.4%), contributing 71.4% to the total increase of grain consumption. By 2030, the total grain consumption will increase by 20.2% to 846.2 million tons, of which 50.2% will be consumed for feeding animals. In the total consumption, maize will be the largest consumed grain variety, accounting for 39.2%. The security of rice and wheat would be optimistic in the future, while the security of maize and soybeans is likely to decline, and thus needs to be given high priority. These findings have great policy implications for improving the grain security, suggesting that in addition to promote the expansion of maize and soybean growing area by adjusting the cropping structure of the arable land, great efforts should be paid to improve the yield of both crops. In addition, residents should be guided to adjust the dietary structure, and also, it is important to improve the animal feeding efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle
The Social Production of Food Waste at the Retail-Consumption Interface
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143834 - 13 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A major problem throughout the world, food waste is an issue that must be addressed not only by all actors in the agri-food chain but also without a silo mentality. To examine this problem, this article considers the interfaces between the stages of [...] Read more.
A major problem throughout the world, food waste is an issue that must be addressed not only by all actors in the agri-food chain but also without a silo mentality. To examine this problem, this article considers the interfaces between the stages of the agri-food chain, by emphasizing the interconnectivity of the different links in the chain, and focusing on the interface between retail distribution and consumption. We show that food waste is socially produced through the interactions and practices of the different actors within food systems. The study presented in this article results from a collaboration research project with two organizations involved in the food waste debate. The data analyzed are derived from an online survey of 1026 Quebec consumers and from 14 semi-directed interviews with retail distribution merchants in the Montreal area, Canada. By identifying, describing and analyzing the consumption and commercial and logistical management practices that contribute to food waste, our analysis demonstrates the existence of four symbolic processes that generate food waste at the retail–consumption interface: the economization of waste, the construction of edibility, the construction of freshness, and the moralization of waste. We argue that these processes should be considered when designing solutions to food waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
Open AccessArticle
Assessing Consumer Acceptance and Willingness to Pay for Novel Value-Added Products Made from Breadfruit in the Hawaiian Islands
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3135; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113135 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Breadfruit is a high yielding tree crop with a long history in the Pacific Islands, with the potential to improve food security under climate change. Traditionally, it has been grown and used extensively as a food source in Hawaii, but in the past [...] Read more.
Breadfruit is a high yielding tree crop with a long history in the Pacific Islands, with the potential to improve food security under climate change. Traditionally, it has been grown and used extensively as a food source in Hawaii, but in the past decades, it has been neglected, underutilized, and supplanted by imported staple foods. Revitalization of breadfruit is central for reducing dependency on food imports and increasing food resiliency and self-sufficiency in Hawaii. Such a process could potentially be strengthened by the development of novel value-added products. This empirical study investigates consumer acceptance and willingness to pay in two scenarios: with and without detailed product information about breadfruit and its cultural significance, nutritional benefits and potential contribution to increase local food security. A total of 440 consumers participated in the study. Participants receiving descriptive information had a higher level of acceptance and were willing to pay a higher price compared with participants who were not informed that the product was made from breadfruit: 1.33 ± 0.15 acceptance on the hedonic scale and 1.26 ± 0.23 USD (both p < 0.0001). In conclusion, repeated exposure and building a positive narrative around breadfruit products may increase consumer acceptability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Protein Quality and Quantity with Environmental Impacts in Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102747 - 14 May 2019
Abstract
Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight [...] Read more.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight of the protein content. However, LCA comparisons do not differentiate the true biological value of protein bioavailability. This paper presents a methodology to incorporate protein quality and quantity using the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) when making comparisons using LCA data. The methodology also incorporates the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) to best represent actual consumption patterns. Integration of these measures into LCA provides a mechanism to identify foods that offer balance between the true value of their protein and environmental impacts. To demonstrate, this approach is applied to LCA data regarding common protein foods’ global warming potential (GWP). The end result is a ratio-based score representing the biological value of protein on a GWP basis. Principal findings show that protein powders provide the best efficiency while cheeses, grains, and beef are the least efficient. This study demonstrates a new way to evaluate foods in terms of nutrition and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
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