The true cost of food

Blue food assessment, GHGe from animal and plant foods, agrobiodiversity index scores, affordability of sustainable diets for poorer minorities, forced labor in food systems...and more


  • Food systems and COVID-19

    The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated weaknesses and tested resilience of food systems. This forward-looking Collection examines precarity of livelihoods and health in the wake of COVID-19 and considers some of the interventions needed to build food systems back better.

  • One health in aquaculture

    Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing and highly traded food sectors, and will become increasingly important in future food systems. This Collection highlights research and commentary on sustainable development of the aquaculture sector incorporating One Health principles - recognising the interconnected health and well-being of people, animals, plants and their shared environment.

  • Food systems and sustainable nutrition

    Large numbers of people are going hungry around the world and nutritional imbalances persist between low- and high-income nations. Not only are our food systems failing society but they are damaging the planet.

  • Sustainable, equitable and profitable Ocean economies

    The world is gearing up to grow ever more reliant on the ocean for food, energy provision and material resources. This collection - the result of a collaboration between the Ocean Panel and the Nature journals - examines the potential for sustainable, equitable and profitable growth in the ocean economy and what would it take to achieve this.

Nature Food is a Transformative Journal; authors can publish using the traditional publishing route OR via immediate gold Open Access.

Our Open Access option complies with funder and institutional requirements.


  • The combination of hot and dry conditions reduces crop yields through heat and drought stresses. The heat sensitivity of crops depends on the local strength of couplings between temperature and moisture, but how future climate will impact the temperature–moisture couplings remains unknown. On the basis of historical patterns and a suite of climate models, this study projects that climate change will modify the couplings and probably worsen the impacts of warming on some of the world’s most important crops.

    • Corey Lesk
    • Ethan Coffel
    • Radley Horton
  • The nutritional, economic and livelihood contributions provided by aquatic food systems are threatened by climate change. Building climate resilience requires systemic interventions that reduce social vulnerabilities.

    • Michelle Tigchelaar
    • William W. L. Cheung
    • Max Troell
  • The quantification of greenhouse gas emissions related to food production and consumption is still largely hindered by the availability of spatial data consistent across sectors. This study provides a detailed account of emissions from land-use change, farmland, livestock and activities beyond the farm gate associated with plant- and animal-based foods/diets—culminating in local-, country- and global-level emissions from each major agricultural commodity.

    • Xiaoming Xu
    • Prateek Sharma
    • Atul K. Jain
  • Increasing nitrogen use efficiency is the most effective strategy to reduce undernourishment while respecting the nitrogen boundaries in regions such as China and India. This supply-side effort plays a more important role in alleviating food insecurity than demand-side efforts such as diet shifts and reduced waste when introducing regional nitrogen targets.

    • Jinfeng Chang
    • Petr Havlík
    • Michael Obersteiner
  • Biodiversity in food systems is key to ensuring healthier diets, more sustainable food production and increased resilience to environmental and socio-economic disturbances. On the basis of a comprehensive scoring framework, the Agrobiodiversity Index proposed in this study gives a clear picture of agrobiodiversity at the country level as well as guidance to enhance it.

    • Sarah K. Jones
    • Natalia Estrada-Carmona
    • Roseline Remans
    • Projected decreases in maize and soy yields due to global warming are compounded by changing co-variability between surface water fluxes and temperature. Precipitation and evapotranspiration need to be accounted for when adapting agriculture and agricultural practices for climate change.

      • Angeline G. Pendergrass
      News & Views
    • Corporate reporting tools should incorporate equity considerations if they are to cover the true costs of operating in the food system. Looking at natural, social and human capital costs, this study proposes integrated metrics to account for the impact of economic activities across socio-economic, gender, racial, generational and risk-bearing domains.

      • Steven Lord
      • John S. I. Ingram
    • Several frameworks aimed at making the effects of food production and consumption on society explicit have emerged recently. This Review identifies the main ones currently in use and compares them in terms of scope, functional unit, impacts and monetization types—with an outlook to their harmonization.

      • Reinier de Adelhart Toorop
      • Jenn Yates
      • Adrian de Groot Ruiz
      Review Article
    • The continued proliferation of certification schemes aimed at mitigating social and environmental problems in the food sector calls for constant stocktaking of their effects. This Review examines some of the most prominent sustainability standards to discuss the issues of causality, exclusion, compliance and monitoring, excess supply and emerging country markets—ultimately identifying directions for future research.

      • Eva-Marie Meemken
      • Christopher B. Barrett
      • Jorge Sellare
      Review Article
    • Labour exploitation in the agrifood sector must be addressed for sustainability. Data-driven methodologies can identify risk hotspots and facilitate development of mitigation strategies.

      • Stefan Gold
      • Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O
      • Alexander Trautrims
      News & Views