What are the true costs of diets on the society and on the planet?

To create a positive enabling environment for food choices, it is first necessary to understand their current impacts and which diets and food systems are desirable taking into account environmental, socio-economic and health perspectives.  

True Cost Accounting (TCA) is a novel approach to analyse externalities holistically under different supply chain scenarios and to help identify strategies for reducing these hidden, but real costs. 

Having the systems approach in its foundation, TCA deviates from conventional silo approaches (e.g., improvements of crop production through extensive use of fertiliser without consideration for human health or environmental contamination).  

For the first time TCA will be applied to diets allowing to reveal the significant but unaccounted impacts on natural, social and human capitals that must be considered in order to shift to sustainable, healthy, socially acceptable and cost-effective diets. 

Holistic food systems interventions and policies are difficult to define and vary across regions. Hence TCA will play a key role by: 

  1. Allowing for a comparison and understanding of different health, social and sustainability issues.  
  2. enabling policymakers to zoom in on the range and magnitude of impacts from food and food systems and identify priority intervention areas. 
  3. identifying pathways for transformational change in government, business, farming and consumer contexts