What is food culture?
…and why is it important?
Our food system is driving demand for unhealthy and unsustainable foods.
Our global food system has helped shape societal preferences in favour of consuming unhealthy and unsustainable foods, resulting in widespread consumer demand for them.
This means that on our current path, achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development goals is a distant dream. To reverse that, we need radical, accelerated transformation in our consumption habits – and impactful, scalable solutions to accelerate change across the whole of society.
Society’s appetite for unhealthy foods negatively impacts our health.
Society’s appetite for unsustainable foods accelerates climate change.
Food, climate and health are inseparably linked.
Our food consumption
fuels big problems –
and they require big
This is what we call “food culture” – a realm that moulds our preferences and influences the way we think and feel about certain foods. It’s a major hidden fuel of our consumption habits and holds the key to unlocking society-wide, lasting change. Yet, it remains unexplored and underutilised. It’s time to change that.
We aspire that in the future, the term food culture becomes as well known and understood as phrases such as food policy and food environments.
Think about it – in some cultures, fast food and meat-heavy diets are seen as a sign of wealth and status, while traditional, more nutritious and sustainable foods are viewed as a symbol of poverty. In others, high-sugar foods such as desserts are core rituals, linked to national and family identity.
How can we expect people to change their food habits when their values and beliefs are telling them otherwise? We can’t.
For accelerated and lasting societal change, we need to use food culture to shift consumer preferences.
What do food
Food culture provides us with a toolbox of strategies to accelerate our food system transformation. We can use food culture strategies to influence society and shape preferences. Below we’ve provided a taste of what they look like.
Find out more
At the Food Culture Alliance, we’ve developed a framework to show the food culture strategies available. We call them our levers of change.Download Now
Still have questions?
Don’t worry, we’ve created a list of FAQs below that will hopefully answer them.
Why are you focussing on societal preferences and societal/ consumer demand?
How does food culture connect with demand?
Why is food culture important for driving climate action?
How can food culture improve health and wellbeing?
Why has food culture been overlooked?
What exactly are food culture strategies?
Where is the proof that food culture strategies can work?
How does food culture play a role in low-resource settings where hunger, cost and accessibility are the biggest hindrance to nutrition and good health?
Culture and food culture is different in every country in the world. How can you adapt to that?
Doesn’t the timeframe for cultural strategies take too long to see impact?
What is meant by the term “society level”?
What are nutritious and sustainable foods?
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