Effects of a climate tax on food and ways to recycle incomes 

People: Elin Röös and Emma Moberg, with Sarah Säll and Ing-Marie Gren, (Department of Economics, SLU)

Funders: Swedish National Protection Agency

Timelines: 2017-2020

The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and tax revenues from a climate tax on food is calculated based on how the tax affects consumer demand for different foods. The study will analyse 1) the distribution effects (how the tax affects high and low-income groups), 2) changes in nutrient intake, 3) the impact on the profitability of Swedish farms and 4) other environmental effects of the tax (acidification, eutrophication, biodiversity etc.). It is further investigated how the revenue from the tax can be used to counteract negative effects of the tax e.g. by supporting the preservation of pastures if the tax leads to a decrease in the domestic production of beef.

Innovative food from legumes for increased resource efficiency in the food system 

People: Elin Röös and Pernilla Tidåker,  with Georg Carlsson (SLU Alnarp), Cornelia Witthöft and Andreas Stephan (Linnaeus University)

Funders: Formas

Timelines: 2017-2020

The aim of this project is to develop climate-smart and protein-rich food products containing domestic legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, peas), to increase the food system sustainability and stimulate a growing bio-economy based on novel, attractive and health-promoting foods. The project objectives are to: 1) identify strategies for incorporating grain legumes suitable for cultivation in Nordic climate into the Nordic diet, 2) develop new legume-based cropping systems that rely more on ecosystem services and less on fossil resources, 3) investigate effects of processing techniques on the nutritional quality of novel legume-based foods, 4) assess the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the production of foods based on domestic grain legumes compared to imported raw materials or meat, and develop decision support for handling trade-offs in the development of more climate-smart food systems. The project applies trans-sectorial collaboration among scientists, food industry, regional councils, farmers and consumers.

Innovative approaches to enhance agroecological farming in the  EU 

People: Elin Röös and Kajsa Resare-Sahlin

Funders: EU

Timelines: May 2018-April 2021

UNISECO is a European research project aiming to develop innovative approaches to enhance the understanding of socio-economic and policy drivers and barriers for further development and implementation of agro-ecological practices in EU farming systems. The Swedish case study looks at diversification of ruminant farms into the production of more food for direct human consumption. 

Read more about the Swedish case study here (in Swedish):–sa-ska-kottbovar-bli-klimatsmarta

Environmental impacts of vegetarian food

People: Hanna Karlsson and Elin Röös

Funders: WWF

Timelines: 2018-2020

In this project, we develop the scientific basis for the Swedish World Nature Fund (WWF) new veggie-guide to be launched in 2019. The project involves compiling data on environmental impacts from the production and distribution of vegetarian protein sources in various forms, fruits and vegetables, cereals, root vegetables and more. The results will then be the basis for the recommendations in the veggieguide. This consumer guide is being developed within the project “Vego i världsklass” which is run by the Swedish World Nature Fund and the Swedish Olympic Committee. In addition to the design of a vegoguide, the project includes training of chiefs in vegetarian cooking and adapting vegetarian meals to elite athletes.

Social and environmental life cycle assessment of more resilient and sustainable pig and beef production systems in the EU

People: Elin Röös with Stanley Zira, Lotta Rydhmer, Emma Ivarsson and Ruben Hoffman (SLU)

Funders: EU

Timelines: 2018-2022

The long-term goal with this PhD project is to develop and adapt milk and meat production to climate changes and to use feed resources based on biomass that is not wanted by humans as food. Incorporation of novel feed ingredients in feed formulations has recently shown potential to reduce the environmental burden of livestock production.  Models to assess resource efficiency and environmental impact from pig, milk and beef production will be further developed. These models will be used to evaluate today’s conventional animal production systems, and alternative production systems that aim to be more sustainable. Both existing systems in Europe and future, theoretical systems will be evaluated. The animals in these systems have been genetically selected for feed efficiency and robustness and studied by partners in SusPig and GenTORE

Feed-food competition and the role of livestock in sustainable food systems

People: Johan Karlsson, Elin Röös, Per-Anders Hansson

Funders: Department

Timelines: 2018-2021 

The aim of this project is to explore what role livestock may play in future sustainable food systems. Both in terms of supplying nutrition to diets and in terms of managing agricultural landscape biodiversity; What level of livestock production and consumption, and which production systems will facilitate the transition towards food system sustainability?

Food system sustainability will be measured in terms of dietary nutrition supply, resource use (with a focus on land use), and environmental impacts (with a focus on GHG emissions).

Adding Value in Resource Effective Food Systems (2018-2021)

Collaboration between SLU (Christopher Malefors, Mattias Eriksson, Ingrid Strid, Per-Anders Hansson), LUKE Finland, Ostfold Research Norway, TUB Germany, iSuN Germany

Funders: Formas/SusFood

Timelines: 2018-2021

Worldwide 1.4 billion tons of food waste are produced per year. This means that approximately one third of the food produced ends up as food waste or food loss. Food loss emerges at the earlier stages of the supply chain, on the field, due to transportation, etc., while food waste occurs on the end, in the retail sector or at the consumer’s. The generation of food waste is significantly higher in industrialized countries than in emerging and developing countries. There is the urgent need to reduce and prevent food waste or add value to it across the whole supply chain.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) adopted by the United Nations in September can be a supporting political measure for this intention. The SDG 12 “Responsible Production and Consumption“ aims to halve the amount of food waste per capita worldwide by 2030. Just as the aim of the EU, the objective of AVARE (Adding Value in Resource Effective Food Systems) is to minimize food waste. Besides reducing and preventing food waste, the project conducts research aiming at generating bio-based products with food waste. The European project combines research institutes from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Climate impact of land use due to greenhouse gases and albedo

People: Petra Sieber, Sepp Böhme, Per-Anders Hansson, Niclas Ericsson, Torun Hammar, Pernilla Tidåker

Funders: STandUP for Energy

Timelines: 2017-2021

This project aims to improve the understanding of how land use affects the global climate due to albedo, the share of solar radiation reflected back-off the ground. We have developed methods to make the climate impact of albedo change comparable to that of greenhouse gas emissions. Different studies will quantify the contribution of albedo change to the life cycle climate impact of agricultural crops and biomass-based product systems.

Capturing multifunctional dairy production: Indicators for ecosystem services and biodiversity

People: Pernilla Tidåker, Kajsa Henryson, Elin Röös

Funders: SLF

Timelines: 2019-2022

The aim is to investigate how relevant and reliable indicators and tools for ecosystem services and biodiversity can be applied to dairy production on different levels and used for steering towards sustainability.

Sustainable diets – the role of fats and dairy

People: Bojana Bajzelj & Elin Röös. 

Funders: Future Food and Department

Timelines: 2019-2021

Out of the three macronutrients – carbo-hydrates, protein and fats – so far  most of the attention in food sustainability discussion has gone to proteins. However fats are also, similarly to protein, provided in large part by animal sources and come at relatively high environmental ‘cost’. Unlike protein, livestock and fish production presents a net source of fats – we gain more fats from animal-based products than the fat their feed contains. Contrary to the public perception, relatively high consumption of most fats is not necessarily problematic for health, and a certain and significant amount of fat consumption is necessary to ensure an adequate supply of energy, essential fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins. This minimum recommended average consumption is not yet achieved in many low-income countries.

This project sets to investigate how we could sustainably supply these fats while reducing animal food production for sustainability reasons, by looking at current production and consumption patterns, functions fats play in nutrition and food culture, current food and non-food uses of fats, and sustainability concerns of current and future plant and animal fat sources. 

Diet sustainability assessment including nutritional quality, cost and environmental impact, and their relation with sociodemographic factors: a nationally representative study. 

People: Katherine Curi, Elin Röös, with Sonia Rodriguez, Juan Rivera, Mishel Unar, Walter Willett. (National Public Health Institute of Mexico, SLU) 

Current food consumption and production globally leads to negative effects on health, environment and economy, threatens future food supply. Therefore, policies to promote more sustainable diets are required both globally and at  country levels, particularly in vulnerable population. In Mexico, there is limited information about dietary patterns that consider both health, environmental and economic dimensions as well as their relation with sociodemographic factors.  The aim of this project is therefore to assess the sustainability of Mexican diets and their relation with sociodemographic factors. The sustainability of diet will be assessed thought 3 metrics: Diet quality index (using the Healthy Eating Index 2015), diet cost and environmental impact that includes  greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint, biodiversity loss, and land use).

Development of smart and low energy input processing chains, natural food additives and colourants, and supportive material for a code of practice to increase sustainability and consumer acceptance of organic food stuffs

People: Techane Bosona and Girma Gebresenbet. 

Funders: CORE Organic Cofund

Timelines: 2018-2021

Consumers expect organic food to be of superior quality and produced sustainably. Restrictions in the usage of additives further increase pressure whilst the full potential of natural additives and colourants is not explored. The project will address these issues for the processing and production of value added products of selected plant and animal origin products through the development of novel, smart processes, natural additives/colourants and supporting material for a Code of Practice. It will provide the organic sector with: (a) smart processing technologies; (b) value-added products (natural additives and Dyes); (c) increased process efficiency, reduction of specific resource demands and phasing out of fossil through use of renewable energy sources (RES); (d) reduction of direct waste and increase of livelihoods by utilising and upgrading produce rejected by the fresh produce market; (e) solid database and (f) holistic management and evaluation of value chains, environmental impact and economic  analyses for selected products (drying and natural additives/colourants) which will help benchmark production.

Biochar in smallholder farms in Kenya

People: Cecilia Sundberg. The project is a transdisciplinary collaboration between researchers in Kenya (IITA, ICRAF and CIFOR) and Sweden (KTH, SLU and Lund University).

Funders: Formas and VR

Timeline: 2016-2020

Biochar produced in cookstoves can contribute to negative carbon emissions through sequestration of biomass carbon, while also providing clean renewable energy and increasing yields in tropical agriculture. In this research project the production and use of biochar in 150 smallholder farming households in three different regions in Kenya is investigated. Biochar-producing cookstoves have been distributed and the fuel use efficiency, emissions and biochar production are quantified. Cookstoves provided benefits through reduced smoke, savings on fuel wood and production of char, but challenges were found related to labour for fuel preparation, lighting, and refilling of stoves. Effects on crop yields after application of biochar to soil is also studied. On-farm trials with varying rates of biochar application to soils show significant increases in maize yield both in combination and without mineral fertilization.

Recirculation of surplus food – to what benefit?

People: Mattias Eriksson, Christopher Malefors, Christine Persson Osowski (UU), Johanna Wahlby (Uppsala Stadsmission).

This project aims to assess different surplus food redistribution solutions and their environmental, social and economic impacts. It will demonstrate the environmental, social and economic benefits these solutions can create, while at the same time being financially self-supporting. Identifying solutions that create long-term sustainability is needed in order to prioritise solutions promoting a Circular Economy in decision making on implementation of measures to reduce food waste.