Interest in local food is growing. Consumers choose to buy local foods for a wide variety of reasons, including their perceived nutritional superiority and health benefits, advantages for the local economy, and to help protect the environment.
Thought for Food Blog
Topics: food quality, food production, environment and sustainability, vegetables, meat, fruit, Christmas, local foods, consumer behaviour, organic, flavour, nutrients, food economics, packaging, retail and marketing, labelling, plant-based diets
These days, most people carry a drink with them wherever they go. Every food shop, however small, has a fridge packed with bottled beverages. Some people drink large quantities of sugary soft drinks, others can’t get through the day without copious quantities of coffee, and tea drinkers are happy to respond to recent experimental evidence that suggests tea is a healthy source of liquid sustenance for the human body. However, for purposes of hydration, the most popular choice is water.
Topics: water, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, calcium, salt, contaminants, pathogens, fluoride, central nervous system, retail and marketing, magnesium, bone health, packaging, bacteria, food quality, cognitive function
History of food labelling
Food labelling as we know it today dates back to the 19th century. Interestingly, it was initially developed as a '...logistical aid to the enforcement of adulteration laws and the levying of duties and taxes on bread' rather than to protect consumers.
It was concerns over chemical safety during World War II that triggered the enactment of The Defence (Sale of Food) Regulations 1943 to protect consumers from misleading labels as to the nature, substance or quality of food.
Then, in 1973, the European Economic Community (EEC) membership brought the European Commission (EC) Labelling Directive 79/112/EEC into the UK, strengthening the ban on misleading presentation and claims on food products. This evolved, through various iterations, into Directive 2000/13/EC.
Almost 800 million people are suffering from malnutrition in the world today. Meanwhile, around a third of all the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. This food waste, which amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes every year, occurs at all stages of the food chain, from the farm to the consumer’s home, and its value is thought to be around US$1 trillion. As the world population continues to increase, reducing the amount of food that is lost or wasted will become more essential than ever. It has been estimated that by 2050 we will require a 60% increase in global food production to feed the population.
The causes of food waste differ between countries around the world. In developing countries, losses tend to occur at the earlier stage of the supply chain and are often due to financial and structural limitations in harvest techniques, storage and transport infrastructures, processing, cooling capabilities, packaging, marketing and infrastructure, as well as climatic conditions that favour food spoilage. Social and cultural conditions can also play a role in food loss in these countries. In medium- and high-income countries, meanwhile, waste tends to occur at the more downstream end of the food chain and often relates to food quality standards and consumer behaviour.
Topics: labelling, regulations and guidance, environment and sustainability, food waste, food production, food quality, consumer behaviour, food security, food safety, retail and marketing, contaminants, packaging
Fresh fruit and vegetables form an essential part of a healthy diet. However, while they are undeniably good for us, their consumption may, on occasion, pose a risk to our health. The contamination of plant foods by bacteria tends to be less well known about than that of animal-derived foods, but is, nevertheless, a matter of great importance for food safety.
Bacterial contamination can affect a wide range of fruits, vegetables and other plant-derived foods, and several different species of bacteria may be responsible. Food recalls due to potential bacterial contamination have been issued for several different plant foods over the last few years, including watercress, freeze-dried sliced fruit and even a variety of herbs and spices, with Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella being some of the main culprits.