The Challenge

How we produce and consume food is possibly the most important determinant of human and environmental health worldwide


The global average consumption of meat and dairy is rising, driven by increasing incomes and population growth. The growing demand for meat matters as its consumption has significant effects on people’s health and livestock production can have major environmental impacts.

Meat can be an important source of some nutrients, but there is also evidence that high meat consumption may increase the risk for some types of chronic disease. Livestock production is also a major source of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, increases water scarcity in some regions and can exacerbate soil erosion. However, livestock provides largescale employment and the trade in livestock and related food products is a core component of the economy of many countries.

Policy makers are increasingly grappling with the economic, health and environmental consequences of rising meat consumption and these issues are particularly complex given the multiple narratives about eating meat and dairy that influence everyone’s behaviour.

The LEAP programme aims to understand the health, environmental, social and economic effects of meat and dairy production and consumption to provide evidence and tools for decision makers to promote healthy and sustainable diets. 




Want to know more about our research?

Project overview


LEAP is supported by the Wellcome Trust’s  Our Planet Our Health Programme and is one of four major interdisciplinary research partnerships in the areas of global food systems and urbanization. 

The four year project (2017-2021) is directed by Professor Charles Godfray (Hope Professor and Director of the Oxford Martin School and Future of Food Programme) and Professor Susan Jebb (Professor of Diet and Population Health, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences) and project managed by Dr Kelly Reed.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the  International Food Policy Research Institute  (IFPRI), the supermarket group Sainsbury’s and  The Nature Conservancy . We also work in partnership with other researchers supported by the Wellcome Trusts Our Planet Our Health programme including  Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) , led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Mini-livestock: insects as sustainable and healthy food, led by Wageningen University, Netherlands, and the  LSHTM and SOAS Sustainability Health Projects.


LEAP Project Structure


leap project structure


Learn more about our five work packages