There is increasing concern that pressures on the global food system present a major threat to human and environmental health, but that awareness of ecological challenges is not being translated into social and political action of the degree and type needed to address them. This suggests a need to understand how citizens conceptualise and respond to food-related risks and threats in the contexts of their everyday lives where demands on their attention, time and hip-pockets are significant and immediate. It requires that efforts to change individual consumption behaviours are complemented by an understanding of the social and discursive environments in which food meanings and practices are taken up. This paper draws upon emerging research on environmentally sustainable diets, Australia's recently released National Food Plan, and a variety of literature on the politics of sustainability and media representations of food issues to identify questions for future research in this area. We highlight some of the limitations of efforts to change individual consumption behaviours through social marketing campaigns and identify the need to understand the links people make between food and the environment, how these are shaped by situated, local knowledge and experiences, and the role of media in shaping citizen-consumer views and the practices of key food-related interest groups.