A systematic scoping review of the sustainability of vertical farming, plant-based alternatives, food delivery services and blockchain in food systems

A. Charlotte Bunge, Amanda Wood, Afton Halloran & Line J. Gordon
Nature Food

Food system technologies (FSTs) are being developed to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable food systems. Here we conducted a systematic scoping review that accounts for multiple dimensions of sustainability to describe the extent, range and nature of peer-reviewed literature that assesses the sustainability performance of four FSTs: plant-based alternatives, vertical farming, food deliveries and blockchain technology. Included literature had a dominant focus on environmental sustainability and less on public health and socio-economic sustainability. Gaps in the literature include empirical assessments on the sustainability of blockchain technology, plant-based seafood alternatives, public health consequences of food deliveries and socio-economic consequences of vertical farming. The development of a holistic sustainability assessment framework that demonstrates the impact of deploying FSTs is needed to guide investments in and the development of sustainable food innovation.

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