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|
European Science Foundation