Food processing, food services, and consumption-oriented reforms

Tim Lang, Lise Justesen, Enni Mertanen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalpeer-review


The food service sector is diverse and growing; it includes an important part of the food chain, between industry and customers. But food service managers make many decisions in advance, with consequently less customer choice than in the retail sector. Food service organisations are important players in health promoting policy interventions, including the integration of sustainable and healthy diets into all food services provision.

The EUPHA report summarises actions that governments and individuals might take to achieve more sustainable and healthy diets. However, there is a comparative lack of policy or research about how to achieve this in the food service sector.

New approaches to menus are needed; consumption and choice of vegetables should be increased. Seasonal products should be preferred and there should always be a vegetarian option. The number and size of meat dishes should be reduced; meat might appear only in a side dish. Vegetarian proteins should be preferred, and vegetarian days promoted. New research, on food waste, procurement, sustainable production, energy and water assessment, and disposable packaging, will be discussed.

The evidence about the unsustainability of food system is overwhelming, providing policy support for reducing diet’s impact on human health, environment and social inequalities. Attention has concentrated on changes preceding choice of consumption of food; strategies such as ‘choice-editing’ attempt to change outcomes without affecting consumer interests. Limitations of a production-oriented strategy will be discussed; inclusion of consumers is essential in the scale and pace of change that is needed. How and why the EU and developed economies must experiment with population behaviour change will be highlighted. Governments have been slow to engage, lagging behind leadership charted by civil society and by some food companies. The EU must reinvigorate its commitment to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) policies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numbersuppl. 4
Pages (from-to)289-290
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2018
EventEUPHA Section on Food and Nutrition: Workshop on literature review of all aspects of sustainable healthy nutrition - Banovci, Slovenia
Duration: 27 Jun 201628 Dec 2016


WorkshopEUPHA Section on Food and Nutrition: Workshop on literature review of all aspects of sustainable healthy nutrition


  • health, nutrition and quality of life

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