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Delicious Sustainability?: Synergies and goal conflicts between eating quality and environmental sustainability in Swedish beef production
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Improved production and reduced consumption of beef is often highlighted as key aspects for tackling sustainability issues of the food system because the environmental impact of beef is ~100 times higher than plant-based foods. Both scientist and civil society organisations argue that eating “less but better” beef is important for sustainability. Better quality can encompass better eating quality as well as improved sustainability, but despite the two being very important for overall quality, very little research on interactions between them exists. No tools, applicable in Sweden, allowing for joint assessment have been developed. This study investigates the synergies and trade-offs between eating quality and environmental sustainability by using Swedish beef production as a case study. It reviews peer reviewed literature on factors that contribute to eating quality (flavour, tenderness and juiciness), and four factors that contribute to environmental sustainability (climate, biodiversity, feed/food competition and animal welfare). Based on the findings, an indicator-based sustainability assessment framework and a meat quality grading scheme differentiating Premium and Standard eating quality is developed, aimed to be practical tools for Swedish beef assessments. The study provides a systems-based understanding of synergies and trade-offs that may occur when “less but better” is presented as a strategy for tackling the environmental impact of beef. Results show that there are synergies between eating quality and biodiversity, animal welfare and with the right choices of feed, feed/food competition but with consequent trade-offs with climate impact. The discussion addresses the potential of enhanced eating quality to increase the profitability of Swedish beef production without consequent substantial negative impact on sustainability. The suggested methods have the potential to facilitate a shift from quantity- to quality-based consumption, but further empirical studies are required.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 119
Keywords [en]
beef; eating quality; environmental sustainability; “less but better”; sustainability assessment; quality grading
National Category
Other Natural Sciences Environmental Sciences Agricultural Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157190OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157190DiVA, id: diva2:1218494
External cooperation
Axfoundation and Exceptionell Råvara
Presentation
2018-06-08, Stockholm Resilience Centre, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf