I write about the future of food and the connections between our food systems, the environment and public health.

Cows standing in a field

Will lab-grown meat really be good for animal welfare?

Lab-grown meat offers the tantalising prospect of a new relationship with our food producing animals: one that doesn’t require their death in order for us to consume meat. Cultured meat is also promoted as an opportunity for creating a healthier,...   Read more

woman holds a lab-grown meat burder

Are we ready for lab-grown meat?

I remember the news headlines back in 2013 when the first lab-grown beef was ready to eat… The most striking of these, to me, were those that focused on the price tag: ‘Building a $325,000 Burger’ And rather amusingly: ‘A...   Read more

plates of alternative proteins

What do we eat, if we eat less meat?

Several years ago, my husband and I decided to stop eating meat for a month. Both of us love steaks, sausages, burgers and…the most irresistible of all meats, to my mind at least: bacon. For many years we had sourced...   Read more

Strategic Policy and Research Advisory

on food, the environment and human health

I’m Elta Smith, an independent researcher and writer who generates ideas and produces insights for people who care deeply about food, the environment and human health.

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My projects have addressed pressing issues related to antimicrobial resistance, climate change, open science, emerging technologies, biodiversity, and consumer behaviours. I believe that making better decisions means embracing complexity and the interrelationships between what we know and how we act.


National Food Strategy

Food touches every part of our lives. But the way it’s produced, distributed, marketed and consumed raises serious policy questions. The National Food Strategy is an independent review that considers how the UK food sector currently works and what options...   Read more

food systems foresight

Food systems foresight

Food systems are complex systems that are, in turn, interdependent with other complex systems, such as health, energy, climate and agriculture systems. They involve many actors, relationships and processes as well as difficult-to-predict events. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is...   Read more

global health security

Global health security

Global health security has taken on new importance in the wake of the COVID crisis. Indeed, the spread of infectious disease has been deadlier than world wars. Yet there are other threats to public health, which are less overt but...   Read more


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