Background: Environmental problems are a contemporary megatrend that is affecting all forms of action on the Earth. The food sector and particularly agriculture are focal areas regarding the world’s biodiversity conservation. Around 50 per cent of all livable land area on Earth is dedicated to agriculture. Of this, 77 per cent is reserved for animal-based food production, yet it covers only 18 per cent of the calories consumed worldwide. Changes to a more sustainable path would require a notable transformation in how the current food system operates.
Research task: This project focuses on studying trends in the consumption and production of meat and milk, new plant-based products, as well as products from cellular agriculture, during the time period 2020-2050. We are particularly interested in finding out what this transition would mean for the functioning of the Finnish food sector.
Implementation: The aim is to structure alternative future scenarios based on product life cycle assessments, a consumer survey, and expert panel interviews and workshops. Life cycle assessments estimate changes in the use of material, land and energy when replacing animal-based products with plant-based ones in Finland. The consumer survey focuses on consumers’ perceived barriers and possibilities to make changes in their food choices, their willingness to adopt new practices, as well as the role of different policy measures in this context. Further, a Delphi process is conducted in the project, consisting of expert panel interviews and workshops concerning the pace and nature of transition in the food sector from technological, socio-cultural, economic, environmental and political perspectives.
Partners: Department of Economics and Management & Department of Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki
Funding: The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra