Browsing by Subject "ecologically sustainable food consumption"

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  • Malila, Roosa-Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The food system is not in a sustainable state. The current ways of producing and consuming food are significant contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss. In order to be able to feed the growing population of humans and ensure the living conditions on the Earth in the future there needs to be a sustainable transition in the food system. In this study, consumer-centric approach towards understanding how the transition to more ecologically sustainable food system can be made is taken. It is essential to take this bottom-up approach to the larger transition in ecological sustainability from the adolescents viewpoint, as they are the consumers of the future, and in early stages in creating their independent food consumption patterns. In addition, there is an apparent need for research on adolescents perceptions on the topic. Therefore three research questions were opposed: Firstly, are Finnish adolescents interested in ecologically sustainable food consumption? Secondly, what does ecologically sustainable food consumption mean for them? Thirdly, how would they change their food consumption habits in order to make it more ecologically sustainable? Research questions were approached qualitatively by collecting the data in eight online focus groups. Participants in the focus groups were 16 to 25 years-old Finnish adolescents. The data was analysed with discourse analysis. As the theoretical background for this research was in sustainability transitions, the results were organized by using the Five O’s framework, which consists from objectives, obstacles, options, opportunities and outcomes. According to the study, this sample of Finnish adolescents were interested in ecologically sustainable food consumption. They were convinced of the possibility that an individual consumer can make a difference through his/her consumption choices. From the adolescents viewpoint, ecologically sustainable food consumption was mostly about reduction of animal-based food products, and the emphasis was on reducing meat eating. The adolescents mentioned also the importance of local and organic food. Food waste did not have that big of a role in relation to ecologically sustainable food consumption, but it was mentioned in a context, that people should buy food only as much as they need. Food should not be wasted. Small carbon footprint and less plastic in food packaging were mentioned as well. The adolescents were willing to change their habits to more ecologically sustainable in many ways, but still they were not willing to compromise radically their current ways of consuming food. In the present everyday life, it was mainly about reducing meat intake and favoring local and organic food products. Still poor taste and structure of meat alternatives, in addition to high price of ecological food in general were seen as the central obstacles. In order to be able to change their ways of consuming even more ecologically in the future, adolescents stated that less-animal based diets should be normalized. There was also a need for reliable and clear information.