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Our consumed foods are becoming less nutritious

Fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than they used to be - Mounting evidence shows that many of today’s whole foods aren't as packed with vitamins and nutrients as they were 70 years ago, potentially putting people's health at risk.


Sustainable food for all

With the rising global population, food availability is an important need and an important challenge. A sustainable food system is fundamental in solving many of the global issues, such as mass migration or the double burden of famine of obesity. The spreading of different lifestyles across the planet and the associated food intake, together with the development of sustainable and healthy food habits and associated public health advice shape the Global Value Network.

Source: Project DAKIS:;

Plant-based and alternative protein diets

Embracing diets that focus on plant-based protein sources and other alternative sources to traditional products.


Understanding and feeding the microbiome

A microbiome is a community of microorganisms that live in a confined environment. Soils, oceans and food host microbiomes, as do plants, animals and the human body. Microbiomes have an impact on our health and on the food we produce, as well as on ecosystems in general. These are researched in a wide variety of disciplines. Knowing how to positively influence our microbiome could have an extraordinary impact on human health.


How to feed the world? Hunger and food scarcity

Food scarcity in more and more regions of the world and less nutrition in the food that exists raises questions about feeding the world - especially as the world population is still increasing. The consequences of this problem are particularly serious and do not stop at national borders. Wars, emigration and their consequences.

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Consumption of the future includes more than just food

Consumption of the future includes more than just food - often narratives are told, the whole delivery chain has to be considered when consuming and marketing is also driving consumption. There are only few attempts to reducing consumption or sufficiency debates.

Source: FoD Consumption Report (EU 2023,;

Avoidance Strategies: How to consume less microplastics

Food and drink sealed in plastic has long been associated with cleanliness, purity and protection from contamination, but we now know that some of the highest exposures to microplastics.


Eating Healthy might have negative side-effects on the environment

Contrary the climate-friendly dieting, "healthy" diets can also cause negative effects, when only reduced to a nutrition factor, as imports from wealthier communities affect the food distribution worldwide. Wageningen University and Research has modelled multi-modal impacts.


Dependencies on Big Food (big companies, sugar, carbohydrates)

International food corporations ("Big Food") are increasingly conquering markets in emerging and developing countries and influencing consumption towards a standard global food. As partners of globally organised aid organisations, this opens up markets for industrially manufactured products, which primarily provide profit for the companies. Unhealthy food dominates markets and suppresses the production of smaller scale and healthier food approaches. Sugar and carbohydrate addiction add to these tendencies.

Source: Kruchem 2017:

Lab-grown flavours

Lab-grown flavours from fungus instead of natural flavours will dominate flavours, and smells added to most foods and drinks could be created in yeast-brewing tanks rather than extracted from plants or synthesized in labs, some researchers predict. Around two decades ago, scientists found that tweaking the genes in yeast—a single-cell fungus—could cause it to produce a variety of compounds. Today yeasts are being genetically engineered to produce flavour molecules in research that could eventually lead to entirely new and unfamiliar tastes.



Highly Processed Foods Increase Dehydration Risk

The typical Western-style diet leads us to consume less fluid overall at a time when adequate hydration is key to surviving the heat waves striking multiple countries. Sweltering temperatures have led to much more focus on staying hydrated with liquids, but disappointingly few headlines focus on the role diets play in hydration. Highly processed foods with a low water content are rapidly replacing more traditional, water-rich foods. Bottled water purchases have increased by 40% over the past decade as more people focus on drinking enough fluids, but at least 20% of total daily water intake typically comes from water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.


That 20% can be vitally important to prevent dehydration when temperatures soar. However, over half of daily calories consumed in Western-style diets now come from a type of highly processed food classified as “ultra-processed” that has most of the water removed during processing to extend shelf life at the store. A food is said to be ultra-processed if it has gone through several extra processing steps adding more fats, sugar, salt, and preservatives that change the final form of the food. This includes foods like breakfast cereals, potato chips, fast food burgers and chicken nuggets, and many frozen meals.


This junk food often masquerades as healthy with labels like “gluten free” or “sugar free,” but if you look at the nutrition label, most of these foods contain a lot more sodium, fat, and simple sugars than you need in a healthy diet. They also have a lot less water compared to the original food. Not all processed foods are categorized as ultra-processed, so it helps to understand the spectrum of processing. One-ingredient foods — the least processed — are ideal. For example, a strawberry can be eaten in its natural form. That strawberry can also be blended into a smoothie or mixed into plain yoghurt — processed but still water-rich and healthy.


Food consumption behaviours in Europe and generation gap

Food consumption behaviours result from a combination of drivers, but it is possible to identify the drivers that seem to influence consumers the most. Some state that there is a generation gap in sustainable food consumption and behaviour. It is noticed that in the last years, the younger generation starts to be more conscious about their consumption, which seems to be different in the differing age cohorts, anyway.


Origin of the bio-based raw material and resources matter to consumers

As companies replace fossil with bio-based resources, the demand for bio-based resources increases. Europe does not have the area or the capacity to satisfy its complete demand through self-sufficiency. Imports of bio-based foods will be necessary, even if the EU and its member states increase their effort to grow renewable resources.

Source: Project DAKIS:;

Land use

The increased demand for bio-based resources by consumers has implications for agricultural land use. While the agricultural area in many developed countries is decreasing, the increase in demand for bio-based resources could reverse this trend and lead to more agricultural practices in the developing world. Additionally, the production practices of agricultural goods could change. The debate between the expansion of ecological agricultural and an intensification of industrial agriculture will continue. Other pressure on land use comes from investors (raising the price of land), the need for housing and unhealthy soils.

Source: Project DAKIS:;"

Environmental impacts of food consumption in Europe

Food consumption is among the main drivers of environmental impacts. On one hand, there is the need to fulfil a fundamental human need for nutrition, and on the other hand this poses critical threats to the environment.


Additives for health

Colours and sweeteners are just two of the most common additives used to give food a marketable quality. There are several hundred food additives allowed on the EU market. Since safety assessments are based on currently available evidence, the long-term health impact of additives intake is a growing concern. The findings of recent animal and cell-based tests suggest several additives have harmful effects on human health. The EU-funded ADDITIVES project proposes

innovative tools developed to collect precise and repeated data, including names and brands, on foods and beverages widely consumed. Based on a combination of epidemiological studies and in vitro/in vivo tests, it will elucidate individual exposure to food additives in relation to obesity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and mortality. Recent findings suggest several additives have harmful effects on human health. Based on a combination of epidemiological studies and in vitro/in vivo tests, the ADDITIVES project reveals individual exposure to food additives in relation to obesity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality and proposes innovative tools to collect data, including names and brands, on foods and beverages widely consumed.

Sources:; (DOI 10.3030/864219)

Profit greed

Inflation and high food costs are difficult for many consumers and it is assumed that profit greed is a part of the problem and a reason why so many food producers are increasing the prices. This is denied (e.g. by the German Federation of German Food and Drink Industries).

Source: Badische Neueste Nachrichten 25-4-2023, p. 11

Climate-friendly dieting

Switching to a healthier diet not only reduces your risk of disease, it also improves the sustainability of our food system. The EAT-Lancet Commission presents a global planetary health diet that is healthy for both people and planet. But it takes over many of the existing myths around food and some of the basics are not scientifically proven as nutrition results are difficult to evaluate.


Phthalates criticism in fast food consumption

The public mainstream realises and criticizes that fast food contains components made of plastic to "bloat" up the products and make them appear bigger. Also, the packaging contains more plastic and phthalates - which are assumed to influence human fertility and have many other negative impacts.


Changing household structures and food

The number of single-person households is rising worldwide. The same for people with different lifestyles. This is also associated with distinctive food-related consumption behaviour.

Sources: Project Fit4FOOD2030:;

Functional foods and nutraceuticals

Developing food products with added health benefits and functional properties. There are pros and cons for these new foods - but a lot of activity in research and production. For companies, it is profitable in the long run.

Sources: DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.3518; Nutrients 2020, 12, 2289; doi:10.3390/nu12082289;;; list of automated FOSTER search and topic modeling; Buxton, Jane (2022): The Great Plant-based Con. Why eating a plants-only diet won't improve your health or save the planet. London, UK: Piatkus;

Pressure groups: pressure on retail

Pesticides: Foodwatch puts supermarkets under pressure. The consumer protection organisation is calling on supermarket chains to change their range of bread and other cereal products to "pesticide-free production". The organisation is hoping for support from a report published on Tuesday and an online petition. According to Foodwatch, it has analysed data from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The result: around one third of cereal products in Europe are "contaminated" with pesticide residues. However, the legally set maximum levels, i.e. the maximum permissible amount of active ingredient up to which a health risk is unlikely, were exceeded in very few cases.

Sources: Agrifood.Table 2023;;;

Consuming Air Proteins made of water air and energy
3-D Printing for safer food consumption

Use of 3-D printing to be safer and produce food that can be consumed immediately and does contain less contamination as it is not transported or contaminated by soil


Products for single households and specific consumer groups

There is a trend, e.g., in Germany and the UK, toward smaller “family units”. This change has particular im plications for the scale and type of housing demand. For them, and for other consumer groups in an ageing society (e.g. older persons living alone) but also children, there need to be different products and services, for example offering meal subscriptions and ready-to-cook kits for easy and hassle-free meal planning.

Sources: 50-trends-influencing-Europes-food-sector.pdf (;

Price sensitive consumers

Price-sensitive consumers are good examples to increase consumer engagement with local products. Hungarian or German consumers for example are very price-sensitive. How do you get consumers in other countries to consume more local, regional products? What marketing and sociological methods are available to do this? Many consumers have a low income and are thus price-sensitive - how can they be able to buy cheap but high quality food?

Source: proposed by CDIs