1Center For Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health, School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2Department of Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 3Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA, 4Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Introduction: Agrobiodiversity is key for promoting healthy diets and moving towards more sustainable food systems. Conversely, monocultures and homogenous diets threaten the diversity of species available for human food. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the diversity of plant species mobilized by household food acquisitions in Brazil. Methods: Data from the 2017-18 National Household Budget Survey were used to quantify the total amount of foods (kilograms) and beverages (litres) purchased per person per year by household aggregates (n=575). Food items were classified according to the Nova classification system. Those items classified as Nova groups 1 and 2 were directly identified at the species level by using taxonomical classification from four data sources. Ingredient lists from the UNC/IDEC/NUPENS national food label database were used to determine the composition of processed and ultra-processed foods. The percent composition of the ingredients was estimated and classified at the species level. The total amount of animalsourced foods acquired by households were proportionally converted into the plant species utilized as feed inputs in their production. The Shannon index was used to assess the diversity of plant species. Linear regression models were used to test associations between sociodemographic characteristics and the Shannon index. Results: Six species accounted for more than 90% of the total amount of plant species mobilized by Brazilian households through their food purchases. This was reflected by a low average value of the Shannon index for the Brazilian population (H=0.87; 95%CI 0.85; 0.88), indicating low diversity. Mean values of this index tended to increase with income and were significantly lower in the North and Midwest regions and in urban areas. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate a low diversity of plant species mobilized by Brazilian households through their food purchases in 2017-18. This is in line with previous studies demonstrating increasing homogeneity of global food supplies.
Keywords: agrobiodiversity, household food acquisition, Shannon Index, Brazil