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Environmental Impacts of Diet Changes in the EU


  • Arnold Tukker
  • Sandra Bausch-Goldbohm
  • Marieke Verheijden
  • Arjan de Koning
  • René Kleijn
  • Oliver Wolf

    (European Commission - JRC)

  • Ignacio Pérez Domínguez


The report is a scientific contribution to the European Commission's Integrated Product Policy framework, which seeks to minimise the environmental degradation caused throughout the life cycle of products. This report first presents an overview of the environmental impact cause by current dietary habits in EU27. It then develops three alternative diets on the basis of health recommendations from EFSA, WHO and other organisations, and calculates the changes in environmental impacts achievable through a shift towards these diets. Finally the report analyses policy measures which stimulate the uptake of healthy diets by consumers. The report shows that current dietary habits in Europe are responsible for 27% of all environmental impacts in Europe. A shift to healthier diets shows that the contribution to overall environmental impacts in Europe can be reduced to 25% in case of reduced consumption of red meat. The contribution reduces to just 26% if indirect effects such as household budget re-distribution and price and substitution effects in the agricultural sector are taken into account. Because food and nutrition are strongly rooted in traditions and habits, policy measures aiming at stimulating a change towards healthy diets need to include a combination of different instruments, ranging from consumer awareness raising to public procurement activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold Tukker & Sandra Bausch-Goldbohm & Marieke Verheijden & Arjan de Koning & René Kleijn & Oliver Wolf & Ignacio Pérez Domínguez, 2009. "Environmental Impacts of Diet Changes in the EU," JRC Research Reports JRC50544, Joint Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipt:iptwpa:jrc50544

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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Rueda-Cantuche & Joerg Beutel & Frederik Neuwahl & Ignazio Mongelli & Andreas Loeschel, 2009. "A Symmetric Input-Output Table For Eu27: Latest Progress," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 59-79.
    2. Tukker, Arnold & Goldbohm, R. Alexandra & de Koning, Arjan & Verheijden, Marieke & Kleijn, René & Wolf, Oliver & Pérez-Domínguez, Ignacio & Rueda-Cantuche, Jose M., 2011. "Environmental impacts of changes to healthier diets in Europe," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1776-1788, August.
    3. Stehfest, Elke & Berg, Maurits van den & Woltjer, Geert & Msangi, Siwa & Westhoek, Henk, 2013. "Options to reduce the environmental effects of livestock production – Comparison of two economic models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 38-53.
    4. Cordts, A. & Duman, N. & Grethe, H. & Nitzko, S. & Spiller, A., 2014. "Potenziale für eine Verminderung des Fleischkonsums am Beispiel Deutschland und Auswirkungen einer Konsumreduktion in OECD-Ländern auf globale Marktbilanzen und Preise für Nahrungsmittel," Proceedings “Schriften der Gesellschaft für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften des Landbaues e.V.”, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA), vol. 49, March.
    5. van Dooren, C. & Marinussen, Mari & Blonk, Hans & Aiking, Harry & Vellinga, Pier, 2014. "Exploring dietary guidelines based on ecological and nutritional values: A comparison of six dietary patterns," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 36-46.
    6. Philipp Schepelmann & An Vercalsteren & José Acosta-Fernandez & Mathieu Saurat & Katrien Boonen & Maarten Christis & Giovanni Marin & Roberto Zoboli & Cathy Maguire, 2020. "Driving Forces of Changing Environmental Pressures from Consumption in the European Food System," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(19), pages 1-30, October.
    7. Egilmez, Gokhan & Kucukvar, Murat & Tatari, Omer & Bhutta, M. Khurrum S., 2014. "Supply chain sustainability assessment of the U.S. food manufacturing sectors: A life cycle-based frontier approach," Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 8-20.
    8. Wolf, Oliver & Pérez-Domínguez, Ignacio & Rueda-Cantuche, Jose M. & Tukker, Arnold & Kleijn, René & de Koning, Arjan & Bausch-Goldbohm, Sandra & Verheijden, Marieke, 2011. "Do healthy diets in Europe matter to the environment? A quantitative analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 8-28, January.
    9. Vinnari, Markus & Tapio, Petri, 2012. "Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 46-54.

    More about this item


    Diet; environmental impact; health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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