Research Topic

Nutrition at the Crossroads: Food at the Intersection of Environmental, Economic, and Social Sustainability

About this Research Topic

With the exponential growth of the world’s population and increasing awareness that our natural resources are limited, development of sustainable approaches to supply food is essential. The processing of raw commodities into food products and their subsequent distribution and sale is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes significantly to the US and other world economies. In fact, in every country, the food industry is the largest industrial sector and consequently consumes significant amounts of energy, water, and other natural resources, and thus has far-reaching impacts on the environment. These impacts include greenhouse gas emissions, other emissions, land use changes, potential pollution, etc.

Historically, the criteria for food choice among consumers has been based on availability, palatability, price, quality, and nutritional attributes; however, evidence suggests that consumers are increasingly interested in the environmental impact of the foods they consume. While agricultural practices and packaging have important environmental impacts for many food products, the processing of foods, distribution, and food waste and loss all contribute significantly to the environmental footprint of this industry as well.

This Research Topic will focus on the interrelationships amongst food systems (e.g., production, processing, distribution, waste), health (consumption), the environment (sustainability), and public policy. Environmental burdens and costs will also be discussed, as will methodologies and techniques to calculate, model, and simulate these impacts. Case studies of specific industry segments will also be considered, as will developing technologies to improve efficiencies and decrease environmental impacts. Government policies will play a critical role in adoption and improvement of the food industry.


Keywords: Food, economics, sustainability, efficiencies, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

With the exponential growth of the world’s population and increasing awareness that our natural resources are limited, development of sustainable approaches to supply food is essential. The processing of raw commodities into food products and their subsequent distribution and sale is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes significantly to the US and other world economies. In fact, in every country, the food industry is the largest industrial sector and consequently consumes significant amounts of energy, water, and other natural resources, and thus has far-reaching impacts on the environment. These impacts include greenhouse gas emissions, other emissions, land use changes, potential pollution, etc.

Historically, the criteria for food choice among consumers has been based on availability, palatability, price, quality, and nutritional attributes; however, evidence suggests that consumers are increasingly interested in the environmental impact of the foods they consume. While agricultural practices and packaging have important environmental impacts for many food products, the processing of foods, distribution, and food waste and loss all contribute significantly to the environmental footprint of this industry as well.

This Research Topic will focus on the interrelationships amongst food systems (e.g., production, processing, distribution, waste), health (consumption), the environment (sustainability), and public policy. Environmental burdens and costs will also be discussed, as will methodologies and techniques to calculate, model, and simulate these impacts. Case studies of specific industry segments will also be considered, as will developing technologies to improve efficiencies and decrease environmental impacts. Government policies will play a critical role in adoption and improvement of the food industry.


Keywords: Food, economics, sustainability, efficiencies, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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