Abstract

Summary The Foresight report has described an unprecedented confluence of pressures whereby a growing, and in some cases, increasingly prosperous global population, alongside increasing demand for limited resources and the pressing need to address environmental challenges, including climate change and changing weather patterns, means that food security is seriously and increasingly threatened. Much of the discussion has focussed on greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production and the contribution from meat production and dairying has been highlighted. These protein‐rich foods are features of Western‐style diets and as such make a substantial contribution to intakes of a wide range of essential nutrients. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact on overall dietary patterns and associated nutrient intakes if consumption levels fall, as well as the impact from a sustainability standpoint. From a nutritional perspective, the initial knee jerk reaction around simply eating less meat is already being replaced by a more sophisticated debate that is now considering whether a healthy diet, as currently framed by food‐based dietary guidelines, can also be a sustainable dietary pattern now and in the future. There are some important questions that need to be addressed in order for a clearer picture to emerge. For example, it is as yet unclear what dietary choices consumers would make if their consumption of these foods were to be reduced, what effect these choices would have on their health and on sustainability of the food supply, and which groups of the population or individuals within households will be most vulnerable, recognising that there are demographic changes already underway associated with an ageing population. This paper provides a viewpoint through the lens of nutrition and summarises some of the initiatives already underway in relation to food security.

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