Melanie Lukas

M.Sc.; Dipl. Oecotroph.
Research Fellow

Publications

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    ABSTRACT: The field of nutrition will face numerous challenges in coming decades; these arise from changing lifestyles and global consumption patterns accompanied by a high use of resources. Against this background, this paper presents a newly designed tool to decrease the effect on nutrition, the so-called Nutritional Footprint. The tool is based on implementing the concept of a sustainable diet in decision-making processes, and supporting a resource-light society. The concept integrates four indicators in each of the two nutrition-related fields of health and environment, and condenses them into an easily communicable result, which limits its results to one effect level. Applied to eight lunch meals, the methodology and its calculations procedures are presented in detail. The results underline the general scientific view of food products; animal-protein based meals are more relevant considering their health and environmental effects. The concept seems useful for consumers to evaluate their own choices, and companies to expand their internal data, their benchmarking processes, or their external communication performance. Methodological shortcomings and the interpretation of results are discussed, and the conclusion shows the tools’ potential for shaping transition processes, and for the reduction of natural resource use by supporting food suppliers’ and consumers’ decisions and choice.
    Journal of Cleaner Production 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.070 · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aufgrund seiner starken Umweltauswirkungen gilt der Lebensmittelsektor durch Effekte in Produktion, Verarbeitung, Konsum und Entsorgung gemeinhin als ein wichtiges Handlungsfeld, soll eine gesellschaftliche Transformation in Richtung Nachhaltigkeit weiter vorangetrieben werden. Da Ernährungsgewohnheiten sowohl ökologische Auswirkungen induzieren als auch gesundheitliche Folgen für die Verbraucher haben, sind Konzepte gefragt, die ökologische mit gesundheitlichen Indikatoren kombinieren; diese sind jedoch bislang rar. Das vorgestellte Instrument des Nutritional Footprint greift diese Problemstellung auf und verbindet in einem innovativen Konzept jeweils vier Kernindikatoren beider Dimensionen. Mithilfe des Konzepts erhalten Verbraucher einen Überblick zu Umwelt- und Gesundheitswirkungen ihrer Ernährung. Unternehmen können wiederum interne Datensätze verwalten, Benchmarking betreiben und ihre externe Kommunikationsleistung erweitern.
    Ernährungs Umschau 11/2014; 10:20-7. DOI:10.4455/eu.2014.028 · 0.22 Impact Factor
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    Melanie Lukas, Christa Liedtke, Holger Rohn
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    ABSTRACT: The food sector accounts for huge environmental impacts caused by production, processing, final consumption and waste treatment in private households or in out of home catering settings. Further, the field of nutrition inextricably links environmental and health aspects to each other. But until today no conceptual draft is available to relate both fields of investigation together. Thus, the domain of nutrition has to be considered intensively if environmental aspects and health considerations should be further examined. A comprehensive conceptual draft is developed in this paper, the so-called nutritional footprint. This first approach is formed in detail by setting a data assortment of available environmental data (e.g. material footprint or carbon footprints within the life cycle) in relation to available nutrition data (e.g. salt content or calorie specifications). As a second step all data is linked to recommendations (e.g. WHO recommendations or valid scientific recommendations) and finally a comparison of environmental and health impacts of foodstuff becomes possible. A nutritional footprint presents a way to match and communicate environmental and health issues together. The draft is available and useful for companies to expand their internal data and their external communication performance. To illustrate the concept, two menus from McDonald's Germany Inc. are estimated as sample calculations.
    World Resources Forum, Davos; 10/2013
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    ABSTRACT: The food and nutrition sector accounts for huge environmental impacts caused by production, processing, final consumption and waste treatment in private households or in out of home catering settings. Further, the field of nutrition inextricably links environmental and health aspects to each other. Thus, the domain of nutrition has to be considered intensively if environmental aspects and health considerations should be further investigated. However, a healthy and environmentally friendly diet is a criterion which remains quite abstract to the consumer. Against this background, the following research question is addressed: "How can environmental & health indicators be linked to each other?". For that reason a comprehensive concept is developed in this paper, the so-called nutritional footprint. The model is based on conceptual frameworks, such as the Hot Spot Analysis. Within a data assortment, relevant and available environmental data (e.g. material footprint or water consumption within the life cycle) is set in relation to available nutrition data (e.g. nutrient density or the classical calorie specifications). The paper shows that a nutritional footprint – as an assessment instrument – presents a way to communicate environmental and health issues together and provides a comprehensive and integrated perspective on quantitative and qualitative data. The concept developed in this paper is also available and useful for companies to expand their internal data and their external communication performance. Nonetheless the current paper presents a first version on this concept, which has to be refined in cooperation with a leading fast food company in order to integrate the approach in their business.
    Food and Environment 2013; 04/2013
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    Melanie Lukas
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    ABSTRACT: Creating more and more innovative technologies to face the challenge of sustainability transitions is not going to have a major impact, a lesson we could learn from the present status of sustainable development. According to this, a change of consumption patterns and lifestyles is necessary to encourage sustainable development. Hence the theory of social practice is used by an increasing number of authors to analyze practices linked to sustainability ideals. The present paper is going to analyze the theoretical approach of private consumption in context of sustainability transitions and social innovation. With the help of 40 consumer interviews the theoretical background is expanded. Therefore the analysis allows identifying processes of how social innovation is created by the users themselves within individual social practices. Especially the aspect of how consumers deal with sufficiency in daily life will be investigated. The results state that a set of sufficient behavior patterns can be identified and the patterns are regularly applied by the majority of the interviewees. The interviewees apply strategies of sufficient behavior due to different life experience, life phases or in specific fields of private consumption and due to different motives. Finally the prospective of the paper is going to emphasize further need of research within the concept of sufficiency.
    ICICI, Friedrichshafen; 01/2012

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