Scientific Updates

Healthy and sustainable protein consumption


The scientific community is fully aware that there are rapid increases in 1) global food demand, 2) the associated environmental impacts of production, and 3) the health impacts of overconsumption. Furthermore, consensus is developing 4) that these issues can and should be addressed in combination, as is illustrated for example by the EAT-Lancet report published by the middle of January 2019.

Achieving multiple health and sustainability goals all at once seems like an opportunity too good to be missed, but then all stakeholders should be acting in sync. However, the range of variation among consumers, industries and governments across the world is immense, considering their strongly different cultural and economic backgrounds.

In a new paper (de Boer J & Aiking H), a framework is sketched to facilitate the urgently required dietary transition in a novel way, by explicitly targeting consumer food choice processes at more than one level of context and detail. A multiple level approach is required, which at least includes diets (patterns of food items eaten by one or more individuals over a period of time), dishes (food items on a plate eaten in combination with each other), and dish ingredients (food items eaten as separate entities).

The literature shows that consumer behaviour at the diet level has recently been analysed in depth to evaluate potential changes in dietary patterns that would be nutritionally and environmentally desirable. However, rather less information is available about how such changes can be operationalized and implemented at the levels of dishes and dish ingredients. Considering that all these levels are key to a diet shift, the paper describes the background and the potential use in strategy development of a new framework to support a protein transition.


Until 13 March 2019, the full text will be available free of charge from the link below:


Reference: de Boer J, Aiking H. (2019). Strategies towards healthy and sustainable protein consumption: A transition framework at the levels of diets, dishes, and dish ingredients. Food Quality and Preference, 73, 171-181.

- Prof. Dr. Harry Aiking

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