Navigation Links
Far flung food: Europe's distant diets
Date:12/10/2007

Across the European Union, food is travelling more, and not always in ways that make sense. Consider the chocolate covered waffle: Last year, Britain both imported 14,000 tonnes, and exported 15,000 tonnes. And it is not just waffles that are travelling further, as Europeans are eating and importing more food from outside the EU than ever before.

At a recent conference, funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST), scientists and policy makers gathered to consider the problems that face future European food supplies. One important area of research looks at where food comes from, and how that food gets from the field to the fork.

Results, presented at the conference in Budapest on November 5-6, show that food is increasingly coming from outside Europe. Europe is one of the worlds top food importers, says Paul Watkiss, a policy advisor from Oxford in the UK. For example, half all vegetables and 95% of fruit consumed within the UK come from overseas nowadays.

Why are Europeans eating more food from other regions? Watkiss thinks that todays global food market is one reason. In recent years, Europe has begun to trade with many more developing countries, he says. These countries have much lower labour and production costs, so can often grow and process food much more cheaply than we can in Europe.

Another reason for changing European tastes is the growth of major supermarkets in Europe. Lidl, Tesco and Carrefouramong othershave sprung up in all European countries. These supermarkets source many of their goods globally and so they are not reliant on seasonal fruits and vegetables. It is unclear whether supermarkets have changed Europeans expectations of the foods available all year round or whether they are just responding to consumer demand, says Watkiss. Either way, Europeans are eating less local food.

Whats more, Europeans are buying more convenience food food that is pre-cut, pre-cooked and pre-packaged. These ready-meals often contain ingredients that have been imported from many different countries. Furthermore, the cutting, cooking and packaging of ready-meals is often done in more than one place, resulting in food that is well-travelled even before it is ready to eat.

By studying what Europeans eat, scientists hope to understand the economic, political, and cultural impacts of food on European society.

One obvious impact of Europeans buying food from outside Europe is that it has greater impact on the environment. For example, as food travels more, it has to be protected with more packaging. This means that, on average, 5% of what we buy in supermarkets is packaging, says Watkiss. Also, greater food transport causes more road congestion, greater damage to infrastructure, and higher emissions of pollutants, including greenhouse gases.

By better understanding the impacts of food distribution on European food supplies, scientists hope to encourage European policy makers to think about how efficiently food is produced and consumed, and the consequences of food traveling further.

The conference was attended by 75 scientists and policy makers from 22 countries and was one of the series of research conferences organised by the ESF-COST Forward Look initiative. Forward Look, a flagship instrument of the ESF, allows scientists to meet people from the world of policy and help set priorities for future research.

This Forward Look is a multidisciplinary joint ESF/COST initiative, which involves the ESF Standing Committee for Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences (LESC), the ESF European Medical Research Councils (EMRC), the ESF Standing Committee for the Humanities (SCH), the ESF Standing Committee for the Social Sciences (SCSS) and the COST Domain Committee for Food and Agriculture (FA).


'/>"/>

Contact: Astrid Lunkes
alunkes@esf.org
33-388-762-172
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. eDiets.com(R) Updates Timing of Third Quarter 2007 Earnings Conference Call
2. Cancer risks for urban African-American women grow, healthy diets more difficult to maintain
3. Diets May Raise Cancer Risk for Poor, Urban Women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Cheryl Bowker of Bowker Insurance Group has been presented with one of ... McKenna ran one of Allstate’s most successful agencies for 48 years, but it was ... The award named for him is not given every year, but only when an ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Casa Velas, an adults-only ... of precious stones to complement its new wellness suites . The two 1,350 ... feature a plethora of special services and insuite amenities, from a custom soap selection ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Laser Skin & ... turn back the hands of time of female aging. The Juliet™ ... Women with symptoms such as leakage, laxity, itchiness and pain have reported real relief ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network ... as the Medical Director of its new DeSoto facility. , “We are pleased ... location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Sterling Global Products is ... unique and patented refillable hanging wipe dispenser. The campaign kick-off video is located via ... end June 25, 2016. The goal is to raise $1,000 per day for a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 Transparency Market ... Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... According to the report, the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency market ... from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$2.85 Bn by ... condition characterized by the deficiency of the exocrine pancreatic ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 Clarifying Vision ... and Monitoring, and Vision Care What can ... are going to grow at the fastest rates? This ... 2026, assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects. ... graphs. Discover the most lucrative areas in the industry ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Non-invasive diagnostic test realizes the ... ,Technology to be presented at Yissum’s booth, at IATI-BIOMED ... Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced ... Aurum Ventures MKI, the technology investment arm of Morris ... approach for early detection of multiple diseases by analyzing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: