Food transformations and (un)sustainable diets: Taking consumption seriously in development research

By Arve Hansen

The world is in dire need of more sustainable and healthy food systems. The development field has much to say on the topic but has historically had a clear focus on either food supply or food deprivation. The potential benefits and positive spill-over effects of eating healthier and more sustainably have, however, led to increasing and wider attention to the demand side of food. Recent research suggests that the sustainability potential of dietary change is considerably larger than that of improving production. If we could just change what people eat, and at the same time avoid some of the ongoing nutrition transitions in low- and middle-income countries, it would have a massive ripple effect in entire food systems.

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