Consequence Analysis of Environmental Aspects in Nordic Dietary Recommendations

In June 2023, the Swedish Food Agency was given a two-part assignment by the government:

1. To describe the potential consequences of incorporating environmental considerations, as an additional aspect beyond health effects, into the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) 2023.
2. To update the Swedish dietary guidelines.

To address the first part of the assignment, the Swedish Food Agency commissioned Mistra Food Futures to illuminate potential consequences for Swedish food production and various environmental aspects, including greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity, based on different scenarios.

The Mistra Food Futures report is published as an independent scientific basis from which the Swedish Food Agency draws conclusions about the most likely consequences, which they present in their report that is now open for consultation until March 20.

About the report: Promoting sustainable agricultural practices, reducing food waste, and encouraging a shift towards more plant-based diets are integral components of addressing the environmental impacts of food systems both in Sweden and globally. Such changes are crucial for building a more resilient and environmentally sustainable food system to meet the needs of a growing global population. Although improvements on the production side (e.g., increased efficiency in resource use and technological advancements) and changes on the consumption side (e.g., dietary changes and reduction in food waste) are necessary, this report focuses on the potential impact of dietary guidelines on environmental goals.

The purpose of this report is to investigate how potential changes in consumption following environmental considerations according to NNR2023, compared to NNR2023 without environmental considerations, could affect domestic food production and environmental outcomes. These environmental outcomes include greenhouse gas emissions, ammonia emissions, and the area of semi-natural pastures. Additionally, the effects on animal welfare were examined.