Food Transition

Nowadays food consumption is a heavily debated topic. What we eat greatly impacts our health and the environment; and our health and daily environment can influence what we eat. Yet the diets of many contribute to (chronic) disease and threaten planetary health.

Therefore, a transition towards more sustainable and healthy diets is required and will help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. In defining what a healthy and sustainable diet is, we borrow the definition of the ‘planetary health’ diet as provided by the EAT-Lancet Commission:

“The planetary health diet is a global reference diet for adults that is symbolically represented by half a plate of fruits, vegetables and nuts. The other half consists of primarily whole grains, plant proteins (beans, lentils, pulses), unsaturated plant oils, modest amounts of meat and dairy, and some added sugars and starchy vegetables. The diet is quite flexible and allows for adaptation to dietary needs, personal preferences and cultural traditions. Vegetarian and vegan diets are two healthy options within the planet health diet but are personal choices.”

For the theme group Food Transition at the chair group Consumption & Healthy Lifestyles, we focus on consumer behaviour and all that affects food consumption in aiming to achieve healthy and sustainable diets for all. From our perspective, food consumption is embedded in the social and physical food environment. We focus on multi-level determinants that influence what food people consume, including social structures and everyday life contexts. In addition, we focus on outcomes of food consumption, such as public health and prevention of (chronic) disease. Our goal is to understand and change daily-life food environments and food consumption with the goal of enabling consumers to adopt healthy and sustainable diets.


In our chair group we adopt a socio-ecological perspective. This means that we embrace the view that healthy and sustainability food consumption is not merely a matter of individual decision-making but should be understood as the result of complex processes interacting at the individual, interpersonal, community, institutional, and policy / broader societal level. Presently, various projects without our chair group focus on the transition towards healthier and more sustainable diets in which different levels of the socio-ecological model are taken represented. In our theme group we emphasize the transition of food consumption patterns, changing from current undesired unhealthy and unsustainable food consumption towards a population-wide food consumption that is healthy and sustainable.

The theme group Food Transition connects to many themes and projects in the agri-food sector, the wider food system, Global One Health, and the Sustainable Development Goals. In our activities we aim to collaborate and connect with various stakeholders and experts inside and outside Wageningen University and to share knowledge in an engaging way. We also strive to stay up-to-date on novel developments in the field of food consumption as well as research methodologies that help us work on the multi-level, multidisciplinary topic of food transition.