+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Identifying sustainable foods: the relationship between environmental impact, nutritional quality, and prices of foods representative of the French diet



Identifying sustainable foods: the relationship between environmental impact, nutritional quality, and prices of foods representative of the French diet



Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114(6): 862-869



Sustainable diets, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization, need to combine environment, nutrition, and affordability dimensions. However, it is unknown whether these dimensions are compatible, and no guidance is available in the official recommendations. To identify foods with compatible sustainability dimensions. For 363 of the most commonly consumed foods in the Second French Individual and National Study on Food Consumption, environmental impact indicators (ie, greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions, acidification, and eutrophication), and prices were collected. The nutritional quality of the foods was assessed by calculating the score for the nutritional adequacy of individual foods (SAIN) to score for disqualifying nutrients (LIM) ratio. A sustainability score based on the median GHG emissions, price, and SAIN:LIM was calculated for each food; the foods with the best values for all three variables received the highest score. The environmental indicators were strongly and positively correlated. Meat, fish, and eggs and dairy products had the strongest influence on the environment; starchy foods, legumes, and fruits and vegetables had the least influence. GHG emissions were inversely correlated with SAIN:LIM (r=-0.37) and positively correlated with price per kilogram (r=0.59); the correlation with price per kilocalorie was null. This showed that foods with a heavy environmental impact tend to have lower nutritional quality and a higher price per kilogram but not a lower price per kilocalorie. Using price per kilogram, 94 foods had a maximum sustainability score, including most plant-based foods and excluding all foods with animal ingredients except milk, yogurt, and soups. Using price per kilocalorie restricted the list to 42 foods, including 52% of all starchy foods and legumes but only 11% of fruits and vegetables (mainly 100% fruit juices). Overall, the sustainability dimensions seemed to be compatible when considering price per kilogram of food. However, this conclusion is too simplistic when considering price per kilocalorie, which highlights the need to integrate the data at the diet level.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 053676573

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24703928

DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.02.002


Related references

Working toward Healthy and Sustainable Diets: The "Double Pyramid Model" Developed by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition to Raise Awareness about the Environmental and Nutritional Impact of Foods. Frontiers in Nutrition 2: 9, 2015

Is the UK diet sustainable? Assessing the environmental impact, cost and nutritional quality of household food purchases. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 76(OCE3): E108-E108, 2017

Discriminating nutritional quality of foods using the 5-Color nutrition label in the French food market: consistency with nutritional recommendations. Nutrition Journal 14: 100, 2015

Nutritional outcomes of a rural diet supplemented with low cost locally available foods 3. development and introduction of weaning foods for infants. Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 21(3): 82-88, 1984

Nuts, beans, seeds: high-impact foods, low-impact co$t. A diet rich in these foods confers numerous health benefits--and gives a big bang for your food buck. Dukemedicine Healthnews 18(5): 6-6, 2012

Instant foods for dogs. 1. Verification of the nutritional quality of commercial moist foods. Obiettivi e Documenti Veterinari 8(10): 49-51, 1987

Nutritional quality and safety of organic (bio-)foods - Are they more nutritious than conventional foods?. Acta Alimentaria 36(3): 301-302, 2007

Development and validation of the nutrient-rich foods index: a tool to measure nutritional quality of foods. Journal of Nutrition 139(8): 1549-1554, 2009

What foods should Americans eat - better information needed on nutritional quality of foods. 1980

The share of ultra-processed foods and the overall nutritional quality of diets in the US: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. Population Health Metrics 15(1): 6, 2017

Identifying foods with good nutritional quality and price for the Opticourses intervention research project. Public Health Nutrition 20(17): 3051-3059, 2017

Do foods imported into the UK have a greater environmental impact than the same foods produced within the UK?. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 18(7): 1325-1343, 2013

The Japanese Institutional Changes from Special Nutritious Foods to Nutritional Labeling Standard. From Enriched Foods to Nutritional Labeling Foods. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kaishi 44(3): 248-253, 1997

Neighborhood Prices of Healthier and Unhealthier Foods and Associations with Diet Quality: Evidence from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(11):, 2017

Impact of biotechnology on the nutritional quality of foods. Food biotechnology edited by Dietrich Knorr: 35, 1987