ESRI Research Bulletin

Examining food preferences in the face of environmental pressures

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

February 2, 2023
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The dietary preferences of consumers have been changing rapidly in the last decade, especially as consumers realise that their food choices, apart from having health implications, also come with environmental consequences. The environmental consequences of food production relate to their greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., carbon footprint), and utilisation of water (i.e., water footprint). In addition, there is a potential risk that food production may lead to water quality degradation. Critically, while trends in consumers’ food preferences suggest support for climate change mitigation efforts, less is known about the value consumers place on other environmental attributes, particularly the risk to water quality associated with food production. In this study, we examine Irish consumers' preferences for environmental attributes implicit in food products, with a specific focus on how much they value the potential risk to water quality, carbon, and water footprints.