World Food Day 2020 - Grow, nourish, sustain. Together.

Elsevier, 2nd October 2020

Each year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrates World Food Day on October 16th to commemorate is founding in 1945. In support of this years theme - 'Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together' - Elsevier presents a curated, open access collection of 40 journal articles and book chapters focussed on increasing food security and sustainability. 

In the 75 years since the founding of FAO, the world has made great progress in the fight against poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. Agricultural productivity and food systems have come a long way. Still, too many people remain vulnerable.

As part of our SDG Impact of COVID-19 podcast series, RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr Márcia Balisciano, spoke to Dr Sam Scheiner, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. As discussed during this episode, there is a clear link between nutrition and our immune systems, something that has become even more important in light of the pandemic. More than 2 billion people do not have regular access to enough safe, nutritious food. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this challenge, threatening to reverse important gains in food security, nutrition, and livelihoods. Now is the time to address the persistent inequalities and inefficiencies that have continued to plague our food systems, economies and social support structures. Now is the time to build back better.

World Food Day 2020 is calling for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers. This will require better social protection, innovation and digitalization, and sustainable agricultural practices that preserve the Earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate. But we all have a role to play, from increasing the overall demand for nutritious food by choosing healthy, to not letting sustainable habits fall by the wayside, and joining the global solidarity effort, despite these uncertain times.

Table of contents

Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 86, December 2020
Targeted interventions have important under-explored potential for reducing meat consumption. We hypothesized that group-specific interventions targeting reduction for reducer, moderate-hindrance, and strong-hindrance meat eaters would be effective. All participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions designed for these three meat-eating groups, or to a control condition. Following the intervention, up to 28 days of food diaries were gathered to measure their consumption of animal products, which were weighted according to their greenhouse gas emissions.
Elsevier, Food Packaging and Shelf Life, Volume 26, December 2020
The recent sharp increase of sensitivity towards environmental issues arising from plastic packaging has boosted interest towards alternative sustainable packaging materials. This new trend promotes the industrial exploitation of knowledge on chitosan-based films. Chitosan has been extensively investigated and used due to its unique biological and functional properties. However, inherent drawbacks including low mechanical properties and high sensitivity to humidity represent major limitations to its industrial applications, including food packaging.
Elsevier, Food Chemistry, Volume 310, 25 April 2020
Improvements in the effectiveness of packaging materials can help to prevent foodborne pathogens and reduce environmental waste. Traditionally, food is packaged in plastic that is rarely recyclable, negatively impacting the environment. Biodegradable packaging materials play an important role in maintaining the health of ecosystems. However, there are limitations in the utilization of bio-based materials, including poor barrier and mechanical properties which frequently cause a shorter shelf life compared to conventional food packaging materials.
Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 85, October 2020
The dichotomous divide between vegetarians and omnivores seems clear: Omnivores eat meat, whereas vegetarians do not. Yet classifying people dichotomously as vegetarian or omnivorous overlooks a distinct group of people who limit their meat intake but still include some meat in their diets: a group of “mostly vegetarian” dieters called flexitarians (a term combining the words, “flexible” and “vegetarian”).
Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 87, January 2021
The consumption of meat contributes significantly to undesirable effects on the environment. In order to reduce the impact of animal husbandry, one approach is to decrease meat consumption by substituting plant-based meat alternatives. Because the consumption of such meat alternatives is currently rather low, the aim of this research was to identify the barriers that keep people from consuming meat alternatives and increase the probability of future consumption.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 26, December 2020
Food waste valorization is a hot topic due to the cornucopia of waste generated and the ensuing detrimental environmental effects. Food is lost or wasted in a variety of means on its way from field to mouth. Once deemed inedible, it is considered a waste, but it still contains first-rate organic material that can be processed and used to create a host of new products, chemicals, or energy. Upgrading food wastes can be performed in a variety of processes.
Elsevier, Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 3, June 2020
Obesity represents an important public health concern because it substantially increases the risk of multiple chronic diseases and thereby contributing to a decline in both quality of life and life expectancy. Besides unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and genetic susceptibility, environmental pollutants also contribute to the rising prevalence of obesity epidemic.

International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2e, 2020, pages 177-179

This chapter advances SDGs 2, 3 and 11 by providing an overview of global food insecurity and the proposed avenues to address it.

Encyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability, Volume 2, 2019, pages 1-7

Advancing SDGs 2, 3 and 11, this chapter gives an overview of how food security, nutrition and sustainability are interrelated.

Encyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability, Volume 1, 2019, pages 9-16

Contributing to SDGs 2, 3 and 11, this chapter gives an overview of the processes and motivations behind the conception, implementation and persistence of global agricultural policies which have led to food insecurity.

Green Food Processing Techniques: Preservation, Transformation and Extraction, 2019, Pages 1-21

Advancing SDGs 3, 9 and 12, this chapter gives an overview of green food processing concepts, strategies and tools.
Elsevier, Current Research in Food Science, Volume 3, November 2020
The principal motivations for the worldwide trend towards reducing meat consumption are health, the environment and animal welfare. The present study investigated the willingness of omnivores to introduce mixed (beef-vegetable protein) and 100% vegetable protein products into their diet. The participants (n = 251) were young adult omnivores who consumed meat at least once a week. The stimuli were images of six different products representing two beef burgers, two mixed-protein burgers (50% beef and 50% seitan or soy) and two 100% vegetable protein burgers (seitan and soy).
Elsevier, International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, Volume 21, October 2020
Entomophagy is increasingly seen as a potential solution to provide a sustainable source of protein. However, the attitude of Western consumers towards insect-based products is generally negative. This study was designed to evaluate the liking of four insect-based snacks among young Italian consumers through a tasting panel involving 62 participants. Two of the products showed the whole insects, while the other two contained insect flour as a main ingredient.

Polymer Science and Innovative Applications, Materials, Techniques, and Future Developments, 2020, Pages 525-543

This chapter supports SDGs 2, 9 and 12 by discussing the critical role that polymeric materials play in terms of food packaging - increasing responsible consumption and sustainability, supporting transport of food, and reducing food waste. The chapter also highlights the latest developments in bio-based/biodegradable food packaging which offers a more sustainable route than traditional synthetic plastic food packaging.

Saving Food, Production, Supply Chain, Food Waste, and Food Consumption, 2019, pages 1-31

Food losses and food waste (FLW) have attracted much attention in the world recently and become a priority in the global and national political agenda. Better understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is important for benchmarking reduction goals, environmental impacts analysis, and informing mitigation measures. In this chapter, the FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years during 1933 and 2014 in 202 publications were examined, contributing to SDG 12.

Agricultural Internet of Things and Decision Support for Precision Smart Farming, 2020, Pages 1-33

This chapter explores how using technology and precision farming can improve yields while protecting the earth's resources, advancing SDGs 2 and 12.

Microorganisms for Sustainable Environment and Health, 2020, pages 383-400

Food safety concerns every food handling facility and is intricately woven with food nutrition. There are many factors that can make food incongruous for the consumption of humans. Contributing to SDGs 2 and 3, this chapter highlights the different scenarios related to food in respect of microorganism growth, different types of food poisoning caused by different sources, like microbial contamination, pesticides residues, improper handling of food, personal unhygienic practices, and their safety measures.

Ensuring Food Security in Changing Scenarios, 2020, Pages 3-12

Advancing SDGs 2, 12 and 15, this chapter contributes to an understanding of the long-term impacts, challenges and benefits of agronomic practices impacts.

Wheat and Barley Grain Biofortification, 2020, Pages xxi-xxii

This chapter contributes to SDGs 2 and 3 by addressing topics associated with the alleviation of malnutrition in globally diverse populations via wheat and barley biofortification.

Climate Change and Food Security with Emphasis on Wheat, 2020, Pages 1-29

As climate impacts farming, so does farming impact climate change. Identifying best-practices that optimise food security while protecting the environment is a key to sustainable food security. This chapter contributes to SDGs 2, 3 and 12.

Nutraceutical and Functional Food Regulations in the United States and around the World (Third Edition), 2019, Pages 3-11

Contributing to SDGs 2 and 3, this chapter argues that the use of specific foods to sustain or enhance overall health and wellness requires understanding and regulation to ensure realistic and optimal results.

Aging, Nutrition and Taste: Nutrition, Food Science and Culinary Perspectives for Aging Tastefully, 2019, Pages xi-xvi

The aging process changes the sensory sciences and can lead to malnutrition as eating becomes less pleasurable. This chapter explores how optimising food taste works toward ensuing ongoing good nutrition and health, contributing to SDGs 2 and 3.

Intelligent Data Mining and Fusion Systems in Agriculture, 2020, Pages 1-15

This book presents methods of computational intelligence and data fusion that have applications in agriculture for the non-destructive testing of agricultural products and crop condition monitoring. This chapters address SDGs 2 and 9 by presenting methods related to the combination of sensors with Artificial Intelligence architectures in Precision Agriculture.
Elsevier, Food and Bioproducts Processing, Volume 119, January 2020
The recovery of resources from waste streams including food production plants can improve the overall sustainability of such processes from both economic and environmental points of view. This is because resource recovery solutions will be instrumental in overcoming the grand societal challenges in relation to the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus in one of many aspects.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 20 March 2020
A grand challenge facing humanity is how to produce food for a growing population in the face of a changing climate and environmental degradation. Although empirical evidence remains sparse, management strategies that increase environmental sustainability, such as increasing agroecosystem diversity through crop rotations, may also increase resilience to weather extremes without sacrificing yields.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 20 March 2020
Food exchange between human populations can mitigate the risk arising from variable food production. Networks of exchange vary according to context but tend to fall into a relatively small number of qualitatively different types, including altruism, reciprocity, and resource pooling. This apparent canalization raises the question of whether specific networks of food exchange exhibit features that allow them to persist in the longer term, and we address this question by using a model of food exchange among multiple populations.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 24 July 2020
Producing food exerts pressures on the environment. Understanding the location and magnitude of food production is key to reducing the impacts of these pressures on nature and people. In this Perspective, Kuempel et al. outline an approach for integrating life cycle assessment and cumulative impact mapping data and methodologies to map the cumulative environmental pressure of food systems. The approach enables quantification of current and potential future environmental pressures, which are needed to reduce the net impact of feeding humanity.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 24 July 2020
Humans, through agricultural fertilizer application, inject more reactive nitrogen (Nr) to terrestrial ecosystems than do natural sources. Ammonia volatilization is a major pathway of agricultural Nr loss. Using a process-based dynamic model, Shen et al. show that ammonia volatilization from agricultural land in the US will increase by up to 81% by the end of this century due to climate change alone, posing threats to food security, air quality, and ecosystem health, but mitigation strategies are available.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 24 July 2020
China is a key player in global production, consumption, and trade of seafood. Given this dominance, Chinese choices regarding what seafood to eat, and how and where to source it, are increasingly important—for China, and for the rest of the world. This perspective explores this issue using a transdisciplinary approach and discusses plausible trajectories and implications for assumptions of future modeling efforts and global environmental sustainability and seafood supply.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 21 August 2020
Global climate change and land degradation are two grand changes facing humanity. In this perspective, we examine how degraded and abandoned farmland can be harnessed to fight climate change. Building upon and extending natural climate solutions, we suggest that the carbon capture and storage of abandoned farmland can be accelerated and maximized through restoring the diversity of plant species, applying biochar to soil, and co-developing renewable energy such as solar power. The benefits of these approaches extend far beyond climate-change mitigation and land restoration.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 21 August 2020
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the guiding policy for agriculture and the largest single budget item in the European Union (EU). Agriculture is essential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the CAP's contribution to do so is uncertain. We analyzed the distribution of €59.4 billion of 2015 CAP payments and show that current CAP spending exacerbates income inequality within agriculture, while little funding supports climate-friendly and biodiverse farming regions.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 25, October 2020
Food production entails a series of steps and operations that convert raw biomass into final products suitable for human consumption. Along the production chain, an enormous amount of side stream is generated. On one side, these represent a burden for the producers due to related disposal issues. On the other hand, many side streams are recognised as a valuable mass containing broad variety of health beneficial and functional ingredients.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 23, June 2020
To be socially accepted widely, the emerging circular bioeconomy needs to rely increasingly on residual bio-based feedstock and waste, hence reducing its dependency on crops which are in competition with agriculture/food markets. Food waste represents a valuable option as it allows for the production of a wide range of bio-based products ranging from biofuels to bioplastics. First successful experiences have shown that the involvement of stakeholders with different behaviours, values and backgrounds is a key enabler of the process.
Elsevier, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 97, March 2020
Background: Cultured meat has emerged as a breakthrough technology for the global food industry, which was considered as a potential solution to mitigate serious environmental, sustainability, global public health, and animal welfare concerns in the near future. Although there is promise that cultured meat can supplement or even replace conventional meat, many challenges still need to be resolved in the early stages.
Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 86, December 2020
Research on the relationship between vegetarianism and subjective well-being (SWB) has produced inconsistent results, which may partly be due to small sample sizes and divergent operationalizations of well-being.
Elsevier, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 103, September 2020
Background: In humanitarian contexts, ensuring access to safe, nutritious, good quality and culturally appropriate food in the right quantity at the right time and place during an emergency or a protracted crisis is an enormous challenge, which is likely to increase given uncertainties such as climate change, global political and economic instability and emerging pandemics like COVID-19. Several international organizations and non-government organizations have well established systems to respond to food security emergencies.
Elsevier, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 102, August 2020
Background: Plant-based meat alternatives are developed to address consumer demands and sustainability of future food supply, and the market has grown exponentially in recent years. Although progresses have been made to construct plant protein-based fibers organoleptically comparable to a whole-muscle cut, it remains challenging to reproduce the hierarchical organization of muscle tissue known to contribute to the overall sensory profile. For now, the market strategies are largely focused on restructured or formed meat mimeticks.
Elsevier, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 95, January 2020
Background: Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients, with numerous health benefits. Most consumers are not meeting the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Yet, a significant amount of fruits and vegetables that is produced is wasted. There are opportunities to recover the wasted fruits and vegetables for manufacturing value-added products to improve the sustainability of healthy diets and reduce the environmental footprint.
Elsevier, Food Policy, Volume 75, February 2018
Wasting food is one of the rare problems that affects our ability to achieve economic goals in terms of food security, environmental sustainability, and farm-financial security. Most of the ideas proposed to this point involve either behavioral nudges or administrative regulations that are either too paternalistic or piecemeal to represent viable solutions. In this study, we investigate the potential for commercial peer-to-peer mutualization systems (CPMSs), or sharing-economy firms, to emerge as market platforms for the exchange of surplus food.