Plate model,
The Finnish nutrition recommendations
@National Nutrition Council

In WP1 we make a historical analysis of the integration of environmental concern into Finnish food policy, ask how normative knowledge on sustainable diet is produced, and analyse what kind of consumer-agency is inscribed in steering sustainable eating.

In Finland, the integration of environmental concerns into food policy took place rather late, focusing first on the environmental impacts of agriculture. Recently the focus has also been on the consumer end, but the emphasis of steering consumer’s food choices has long been on public health effects of the diet. In the Nordic welfare model the state actively steers the public eating habits. Only in the most recent Finnish nutrition recommendations for healthy diet from January 2014 a section on sustainability and concern for the environment was included for the first time. The definition of sustainable diet has important implications as to what kind of choices and responsibilities are offered for the consumers. The emerging consumer-citizen positions coupled with diverging consumption preferences and availabilities set new challenges for food policy.

The first research task is to map the steering of sustainable diets in food policy. We will carry out a review of existing research literature and further focus on the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as a key food policy actor. This will be done by means of document analysis and qualitative interviews. A case for closer analysis may be built on the Finnish Nutrition Recommendation Council that has the main responsibility on nutrition recommendations in Finland. Through interviews we will trace the process of co-construction of normative dietary knowledge, by mapping the networks of actors and by analysing different power and knowledge claims likely to affect the food consumption norms.

In order to analyse the consumer-agency prescribed by sustainable food policy, we will complement the analysis by gathering publicity material promoting sustainable diet. We expect to put together an image of an ideal sustainable consumer that will then be reflected against the outcomes of the other subprojects.