The system-wide impact of healthy eating: assessing emissions and economic impacts at the regional level

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Abstract

Encouraging consumers to shift their diets towards a lower meat/lower calorie alternative has been the focus of food and health policies across the world. The economic impacts of such changes on regions have been less widely examined, but are likely to be significant, especially where agricultural and food production activities are important for the region. In this study we use a multi-sectoral modelling framework to examine the environmental and economic impacts of such a dietary change, and illustrate this using a detailed model for Scotland. We find that if household food and drink consumption follows healthy eating guidelines, it would reduce both Scotland’s "footprint" and "territorial" emissions, and yet may be associated with positive economic impacts, generating a "double dividend" for both the environment and the economy. The economic impact however depends critically upon how households use the income previously spent on higher meat/ higher calorie diets. Furthermore, the likely (but not modelled) benefits to health suggest the potential for a "triple dividend".
LanguageEnglish
Article number101725
Number of pages10
JournalFood Policy
Volume86
Early online date22 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019

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healthy diet
economic impact
eating behavior
Economics
Scotland
food
meat
Meat
households
diet
Diet
food policy
Food
Nutrition Policy
health policy
high energy diet
Insurance Benefits
Health Policy
food production
footprint

Keywords

  • diet
  • emissions
  • economic impact
  • Scotland

Cite this

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title = "The system-wide impact of healthy eating: assessing emissions and economic impacts at the regional level",
abstract = "Encouraging consumers to shift their diets towards a lower meat/lower calorie alternative has been the focus of food and health policies across the world. The economic impacts of such changes on regions have been less widely examined, but are likely to be significant, especially where agricultural and food production activities are important for the region. In this study we use a multi-sectoral modelling framework to examine the environmental and economic impacts of such a dietary change, and illustrate this using a detailed model for Scotland. We find that if household food and drink consumption follows healthy eating guidelines, it would reduce both Scotland’s {"}footprint{"} and {"}territorial{"} emissions, and yet may be associated with positive economic impacts, generating a {"}double dividend{"} for both the environment and the economy. The economic impact however depends critically upon how households use the income previously spent on higher meat/ higher calorie diets. Furthermore, the likely (but not modelled) benefits to health suggest the potential for a {"}triple dividend{"}.",
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AB - Encouraging consumers to shift their diets towards a lower meat/lower calorie alternative has been the focus of food and health policies across the world. The economic impacts of such changes on regions have been less widely examined, but are likely to be significant, especially where agricultural and food production activities are important for the region. In this study we use a multi-sectoral modelling framework to examine the environmental and economic impacts of such a dietary change, and illustrate this using a detailed model for Scotland. We find that if household food and drink consumption follows healthy eating guidelines, it would reduce both Scotland’s "footprint" and "territorial" emissions, and yet may be associated with positive economic impacts, generating a "double dividend" for both the environment and the economy. The economic impact however depends critically upon how households use the income previously spent on higher meat/ higher calorie diets. Furthermore, the likely (but not modelled) benefits to health suggest the potential for a "triple dividend".

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