The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

An Introduction to Sustainable Diets and the Value of Dairy

 Sustainable diets and the value of dairy

With the effects of environmental pressures of food production becoming increasingly clear, the emphasis in nutrition is shifting from purely balanced diets to more sustainable diets. The Food and Agriculture Organization defines nutritional adequacy, affordability, cultural acceptability and environmental impact as the four central criteria to consider when defining a sustainable diet. As high-quality protein greatly contributes to nutritional adequacy, moving towards a completely plant-based dietary pattern may not be feasible. Dairy products may present a valuable compromise option in the transition to more sustainable dietary patterns owing to their nutrient density, good value for money and general acceptability among diverse consumer groups. The current drive towards more sustainable farming practices may also contribute to dairy production having a more acceptable environmental footprint than the production of other animal-derived food sources. Commentators suggest that dairy may be a useful option in the quest for designing sustainable yet balanced diets.

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