The impacts of dietary change in Finland: food system approach


  • Ellen Huan-Niemi Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Minna Kaljonen Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
  • Marja Knuuttila Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Jyrki Niemi Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Merja Saarinen Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)


This study examined what kind of policy instruments and actions are needed for sustainable dietary change and how a large-scale dietary change would impact the climate, thus analysing the economic impacts of transitioning from animal-based diets to alternative plant-based diets. The transition would require the support of horizontal measures that can be implemented throughout the food system. Shifting the emphasis toward the drivers of food demand and consumption will increase the role of new policy instruments and the actors involved in the food system. Collaborative research between environmental and nutritional sciences with economics and policy analysis is necessary to link nutritional health and environmental objectives with economic and social impacts. Less resource-demanding diets would reduce the impact from the food system and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Drastic changes in diets and food consumption in Finland would have an impact on primary agricultural production, but the output from the food processing industry would only be slightly affected. However, a successful transition would involve considerable investments in the agricultural and food industry.


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How to Cite

Huan-Niemi, E., Kaljonen, M., Knuuttila, M., Niemi, J. ., & Saarinen, M. (2020). The impacts of dietary change in Finland: food system approach. Agricultural and Food Science, 29(4), 372–382.
Received 2020-05-29
Accepted 2020-07-13
Published 2020-07-13