Agricultural policy liberalisation, concern about unhealthy diets and growing recognition of the importance of sustainable land use have fostered interest in the development of competitive food chains based around products that are beneficial to the rural environment. We review the potential for foods with enhanced health attributes based on alternative varieties/breeds and production systems to traditional agriculture which has been predominantly motivated by yields. We concentrate on soft fruit, which is an important source of polyphenols, and grazing livestock systems that have the potential for improving fatty acid profiles in meat products and find there to be clear scientific potential, but limited research to date. Consumer research suggests considerable acceptance of such products and willingness to pay sufficient to cover additional production costs. Purchase of such foods could have major implications for agricultural land use and the rural environment. There is little research to date on specific healthier food products, but spatially explicit models are being developed to assess land use and environmental implications of changing demand and husbandry methods.