Our relationship with food is unsustainable, as the products we consume are causing untenable levels of carbon emissions, deforestation, pollution and soil erosion. And yet dietary change is nothing new – the diets of people all around the world have frequently changed in response to environmental factors, policy, market forces, and cultural norms and tastes.
Behavioural science has a lot to offer. It can help to explain the factors that influence our eating habits, and it can assist in developing policies and interventions that forward-thinking governments, businesses and citizens can embrace.
Diet is also a uniquely sensitive topic, brushing up against our intuitions around autonomy and free choice in what we eat. Attempts to change national diets also have impacts on important, longstanding and often traditional communities working in agriculture and food production. Behavioural science can help us to navigate these issues of consent and support for change.