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Gathering data on food environments and food practices through photo elicitation in Copenhagen, Denmark: Implications for adapting the EAT-LANCET reference diet to local circumstances

Isaacs, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5135-232X, Spires, M., Halloran, A. & Stridsland, T. (2022). Gathering data on food environments and food practices through photo elicitation in Copenhagen, Denmark: Implications for adapting the EAT-LANCET reference diet to local circumstances. Cities and Health, 6(3), pp. 511-527. doi: 10.1080/23748834.2022.2078072


Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally. Simultaneously, the factors that influence diet-related ill-health also drive climate change. Acknowledging the link between health and environmental sustainability, in 2019 the EAT-Lancet Commission outlined a diet beneficial for both humans and the planet. There has since been a drive to adapt this diet for a range of settings. Thus, the Shifting Urban Diets project was initiated to support the City of Copenhagen’s move towards a planetary diet. Food environments are key to shaping dietary practices. To provide evidence on how Copenhagen residents experienced their food environments, one component of this project explored, through photo-elicitation, how residents from one neighbourhood navigated and engaged with their food environment. Ten participants attended participatory photo-elicitation workshops over three weeks in November to December 2019, photographing their food environment and discussing the implications for human and planetary health. Data from the workshops (photos, notes and captions) were analysed thematically. Participants demonstrated the myriad factors that shape food environment engagement. Beyond cost and the built environment, participants chose food outlets that allowed for socialising, that were convenient enough to make time for other activities, and that aligned with values and understandings about the role of food. Participants also naturally drew links between practices that were healthy and practices that were sustainable when considering how they would like the food environment to change. When food priorities and values align with material factors, people are more likely to purchase healthy, sustainable foods.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: Food environment, nutrition, sustainability, photo-elicitation, lived experience
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
T Technology > TX Home economics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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