The Role of Dairy in Sustainable Diets: mitigating the environmental impact and public perceptions of dairy

The upcoming IDF Symposium on “The role of dairy in sustainable diets” in Seville, on 1st and 2nd February 2018 will engage international experts in exploring all facets of the environmental and nutritional aspects of dairy.

As a Livestock Policy Officer working for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Dr Anne Mottet, will explain the role of livestock and dairy in food security and nutrition, and more generally its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Animal production, in its many forms, plays an integral role in the food system, making use of marginal lands, turning co-products into edible goods, contributing to crop productivity and turning edible crops into highly nutritious, protein-rich food. Quantifying the land and biomass resources engaged in livestock production and the food output they generate, but also improving our modelling capacity by including trends in consumer preferences, shifts in animal species, climate change impacts, and industrial processes to improve the human edibility of certain feed materials is arguably basic information needed as part of further research into the challenge of sustainably feeding 9.6 billion people by 2050” explained Dr. Mottet.

The presentation by Professor Wim Verbeke will focus on the consumer perspective and the role of health, nutrition and sustainability as drivers of food choice. Symposium participants will be updated on findings from multiple consumer studies. These range from the mapping of consumer perceptions and attitudes, over the perceived importance of nutrition, health and sustainability relative to other dairy product attributes, to purchase intentions and behaviour. The latter will also cover willingness-to-pay for dairy products with a health and sustainability benefit.

The finding that personal motivation matters more than ability for consumers to make healthy and sustainable food choices, and the potential of a positioning that is based on health and sustainability combined, will also be presented.  Furthermore, I will illustrate the citizen-attitude-to-consumer-behaviour gap, providing insight into why individual consumers may not consistently act in line with their attitude as a citizen.“ said Dr. Verbeke, Professor of agro-food marketing and consumer behaviour at Ghent University in Belgium.

Finally, implications and challenges for policy and communication will be discussed.

The full programme is available at https://www.fil-idf.org/idfevent2018/