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Food in the Future: energy and transport in the food system
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.
2008 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores possible future forms of a sustainable food supply system from an energy aspect. Particular attention is devoted to local food supply as a means to reduce energy use for transport. The thesis consists of a covering essay and three studies: one futures study of the entire food supply system and two case studies of local farming.

The results from the three studies had somewhat different characters, but provided suggestions on how the food system could be more energy-efficient. The futures study, which was on a more comprehensive level than the two case studies, included a full account of energy use for the food supply system in Sweden for the year 2000 and an exploration of future sustainable energy use in the shape of an image of the future. The two case studies provided indications on the potential for reduction in energy use for transport through local food supply in the future.

The futures study explored the possibilities of reducing the energy use for food to a level that would be sustainable with regard to energy use. This meant generating an image of the future where energy use for eating was 60% lower in 2050 than in 2000. Sweden was used as the case and all data regarding energy use were for Swedish conditions. The existing possibilities to reduce energy used in the food supply system for producing, transporting, storing, cooking and eating food were explored and described in terms of a number of distinct, consecutively numbered ‘Changes’. These changes were presented in both a quantitative and qualitative way but should not be regarded as forecasts. Instead, they provide an illustration of the kinds of changes needed in order to achieve sustainable energy use in the food system.

The outcome from the two case studies was that energy use for local food distribution was not obviously lower than that for conventional food transport. This may be surprising to many, since it is generally argued in the public debate that local food supply is a powerful means to reduce energy use in the food system. From an energy point of view, it could be more relevant to use a parameter based on the energy use per quantity of food instead of transport distance. An appropriate approach would therefore be energy-efficient food supply instead of local food supply. This would allow concerned consumers to make appropriate choices when purchasing food.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , 42 p.
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2008-08
National Category
Food Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9303ISBN: 978-91-7415-135-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9303DiVA: diva2:54621
Presentation
2008-10-17, Sal L52, KTH, Drottning Kristinas Väg 30, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101125Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2010-11-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Eating energy: Identifying possibilities for reduced energy use in the future food supply system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Eating energy: Identifying possibilities for reduced energy use in the future food supply system
2009 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 37, no 12, 5803-5813 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the possibilities for reducing future energy use for eating to a sustainable level. A backcasting approach is used to generate an image of the future where energy use for eating is 60% lower in 2050 than in 2000. The currently known potential to reduce energy use in the food supply system for producing, transporting, storing, cooking and eating food is explored and described in terms of a number of distinct changes that are numbered consecutively and presented in both a quantitative and qualitative way. Sweden is used as the case and all data regarding energy use apply for Swedish conditions. An exercise like this illustrates the possible outcome of taking sustainability seriously. If sustainability is to be achieved, some images of the future are needed so that potential targets can be identified. This paper does not present forecasts, but illustrates the kind of changes needed in order to achieve sustainable energy use in the food system.

Keyword
Future food, Energy, Backcasting, transport, sweden
National Category
Food Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-19015 (URN)10.1016/j.enpol.2009.08.046 (DOI)000272426500077 ()2-s2.0-71549125580 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100525 Tidigare titel: Eating energy: identifying possibilities for increased energy efficiency in the future food supply systemAvailable from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Local or global food markets: a comparison of energy use for transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local or global food markets: a comparison of energy use for transport
2006 (English)In: Local Environment: the International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, ISSN 1354-9839, E-ISSN 1469-6711, Vol. 11, no 2, 233-251 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study compares energy use for food transport to a farmers' market in Sweden with energy use for transport in the conventional food system. The farmers' market was investigated through data sampling from on-site investigations. The conventional food system was studied with the aid of life cycle assessments reported in the literature. Overall, the study found no significant differences in levels of energy use for transport to the farmers' market compared with the conventional food system. For certain products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, transport-related energy use was much lower in the local system although the season in Sweden for this kind of product is restricted to two or three months at the end of the summer. However, there is considerable potential to increase energy efficiency in local food systems by organizing the selling in new ways and by using more energy efficient vehicles.

Keyword
food market, transportation
National Category
Food Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9301 (URN)10.1080/13549830600558598 (DOI)2-s2.0-33645544312 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20101125Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Global warming and fossil energy use
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Global warming and fossil energy use
2005 (English)In: Ekologiskt Lantbruk, ISSN 1102-6758, Vol. 46, 71-93 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
National Category
Food Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9302 (URN)
Note
QC 20101125Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2010-11-25Bibliographically approved

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