With the exponential growth of the world’s population in recent decades, increasing awareness that our natural resources are limited, and a growing food justice movement, the development and implementation of sustainable approaches to grow, produce, process, and distribute food is critical for the future of all societies. The processing of raw commodities into ingredients and food products, and their subsequent distribution and sale is a multi-billion-dollar industry that contributes significantly to every economy throughout the world. In every country, the food industry is typically the largest industrial sector and consequently consumes tremendous quantities of energy, water, and other natural resources, and thus has far-reaching impacts on the environment. These impacts include greenhouse gas emissions, toxic emissions, land use changes, as well as emission of other gaseous, solid, and liquid wastes. Meanwhile, health care costs for diet-related diseases continue to increase, thus nutritional choices are a key pieces of the food supply chain as well.
Historically, food choice amongst consumers has often been based on availability, price, taste, safety, quality, marketing and promotion, cultural preference, and nutritional attributes. In recent years, food choices are often driven by agricultural production practices and policies. Evidence suggests that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the foods they consume. Agricultural production and packaging have significant environmental impacts for all food products, the processing of foods, distribution, as well as food waste and loss all contribute to the environmental footprint of this industry.
This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts that focus on the interrelationships among multiple pillars of sustainable food supply chains (e.g., production, processing, distribution, waste), nutrition and health (consumption), the environment (sustainability), as well as public policy. Environmental burdens and costs may also be discussed, as they cross all sectors of the supply chain, as will methodologies and techniques to calculate, model, and simulate these impacts. Thus, we aim to address all aspects of the Triple Bottom Line (Environmental, Social, and Economic Sustainability, or, People, Planet, Profit). Case studies of specific industry segments will also be welcomed, as will new technologies for improving efficiencies and decreasing environmental impacts. The development of new ingredients, and especially alternative proteins, is also part of the field of interest of this volume. Government and industrial policies also play a critical role in adoption and improvement of the food industry.
This Research Topic aims to span the entire food industry. This new contribution (Volume III) will build on our previous two editions, and will have a special emphasis on ingredients and the processing of foods, especially at the intersection of environmental, social, health, and economic impacts.Explore the previous volumes of Nutrition at the Crossroads:Volume IVolume II