ZEF Public Lecture: The environmental impacts from the perspective of the food system

March 30, 2023 | 13:30 h - 14:30 h

Topic: The environmental impacts from the perspective of the food system

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Kitti Sranacharoenpong

Venue: ZEF Conference Room (Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, ground floor)

The lecture will be held in hybrid mode, so you are also welcome to join us online via Zoom: https://uni-bonn.zoom.us/meeting/register/u50rf-2qqjooEtT7ZL_md2pD1TPGmEQRDNQ3


Thailand has gone through rapid economic and nutritional changes. Its social and economic transition over the past three decades has involved becoming more industrial and less agricultural. Even though Thailand has a food supply that is self-sufficient, there are still problems of deficiencies in its diet. Paradoxically, the global epidemic of obesity has also affected the Thai population. Economic development in Thailand, rapid increase in food choice, and acculturation have contributed to the increased prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases, both in urban and rural areas. Climate change is emerging as a major challenge of the 21st century. Agriculture both affects and is affected by climate change, yet agriculture and food production have been largely overlooked in discussions on climate change policy. A new paradigm is needed for sustainable food system development and climate change mitigation. Plant and animal-based protein food sources have their distinctive nutritional values determined by their level of essential amino acids, which are utilized according to an individual’s current physiological requirement and nitrogen balance. Since an individual’s food choices have a significant impact on the environment, the differences between plant-based protein and animal protein sources were evaluated for their potential as components of an environmentally friendly diet. An 18 and 9-fold greater requirement was found for beef versus beans for land and water usage, respectively.  For fertilizer, beef was found to have a ~4-fold greater requirement versus beans, a 1.5-fold increased requirement versus chicken and almonds, and, a ~2.5-fold increased requirement versus eggs.  Beef and almonds were found to have similar fuel requirements, which are ~2-fold greater than beans and chicken, and, ~3.5-fold greater than eggs.  Lastly, beef was shown to generate a 5 to 6-fold greater amount of waste as compared to eggs and chicken. The impacts of food systems related to food security and climate change needed to be considered carefully to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That means considering agriculture and food productions. In addition, food availability, affordability and accessibility for all diverse populations should be sustainable. Food security and sustainability have been considered in the strategic framework for food management in Thailand by the Thai National Food Committee. However, to prevent climate change crises, consumers play a role in changing behavior across the lifecycle. Farmers and food industries are also accelerators to move towards more sustainable practices to reduce waste and related factors to GHG emissions. The food system and climate change are considered urgent issues for public health and pose a theoretical challenge for scientists and policymakers.


Associate Professor, Dr. Kitti Sranacharoenpong has been working at the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University in Thailand since 1998. Currently, he is head of the community nutrition unit. His Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees were in Nutrition Science from Mahidol University in Thailand. He graduated PhD. in Applied Health Sciences from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, Canada in 2009. He also had been training as a postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Nutrition at Loma Linda University in California, USA from 2009-2011. He was the key person who developed the Thai Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (Thai-FBDGs) and used them as a nutritional tool across the country. He also has conducted a school lunch program for Thai children to link aspects of Thai-FBDGs and food systems, climate change, and carbon footprints related to sustainability. He also has collaborated the research projects with the Lao Ministry of Health (Lao-MOH) to develop their FBDGs based on Lao National Consumption Data since 2015. He also has the maternal and child project focusing on 1,000 days for Lao-MOH.