Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food security and nutrition

In 1996, the World Food Summit stated that food security ‘exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ This definition encompasses four key elements: 1) the physical availability of food, 2) the legal, political, economic and social arrangements which assure access to food, 3) the ability to utilise food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being, and 4) the stability of all these factors across time. Today, just under 800 million people are undernourished. Compounding this problem, changing dietary patterns (sometimes referred to as the ‘nutrition transition’) brought on by the processes of globalisation mean that, obesity is also now a growing problem, and many developing and emerging countries now find themselves presented with a ‘double burden’ of poor nutrition. Over 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese and most of these are to be found in middle and low income countries simply because their populations are so great. Overlapping with these numbers some 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (most commonly of iron, vitamin A and iodine) which causes physical and cognitive problems, particularly in children and women of childbearing age.

Image: focusonpc, Carne cibo, Pixabay, Pixabay License
8 October 2019

A series of review papers on the health effects of consumption of red and processed meat has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Based on the reviews, the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium (an independent group including several of the authors of the review papers; members of the panel had no “financial or intellectual” conflicts of interest during the past three years) recommends that adults should continue to eat current levels of both red meat and processed meat.

2 October 2019

This book by Julian Cribb examines the links between food, conflict, hunger and ecological collapse, and develops recommendations for how to build a sustainable global food system that defuses tensions and avoids the mass displacement of people.

Image: Max Pixel, Agriculture Tractor Arable, CC0 Public Domain
2 October 2019

This paper explores ways of ending hunger without causing excessive environmental damage. It finds that ending hunger through economic growth alone (an approach that would try to increase overall food availability without addressing food consumption inequality) would require 20% more food production by 2030 than in business-as-usual, as well as generating higher carbon emissions and using more agricultural land.

18 September 2019

This briefing paper from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration examines the impact that a “no-deal Brexit” (i.e. the UK leaving the European Union without an agreement on trade or other matters) would have on food supply chains that cross the border between Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).

22 July 2019

The book Sustainability of the Food System: Sovereignty, Waste, and Nutrients Bioavailability addresses food sustainability through the lens of food sovereignty, environmentally friendly food processes, and food technologies that increase the bioavailability of bioactive compounds.

22 July 2019

This Business Forum Report from the Food Ethics Council explores the ethical implications of the food industry’s involvement with food charity projects such as school breakfast clubs or donations of food and money by supermarkets. 

22 July 2019

The FAO’s 2019 edition of its “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” report finds that the number of hungry people is increasing, with around 820 million people worldwide experiencing undernourishment. This year’s report also finds that around 2 billion people experience either severe or moderate food insecurity, with the phenomenon found in low, middle and high income countries.

16 July 2019

The second edition of Nature’s Matrix sets out the recent state of debate around conservation and agriculture. It argues in favour of small-scale agroecology and food sovereignty.

16 July 2019

This report from the FAO’s High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) explores how agroecology and other innovative approaches to food systems (such as organic agriculture, agroforestry, permaculture, climate-smart agriculture, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and sustainable intensification) can support sustainable agriculture and food security.

9 July 2019

This book, edited by David Barling and Jessica Fanzo, explores challenges related to protecting environmental resources while also meeting human nutritional requirements, covering a wide range of subjects relating to food security and sustainability.

Image: Marco Verch, Close Up on the Red and Green Apples, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
9 July 2019

This narrative review paper explores how understanding of nutrition and public health have changed over time, influenced by developments in science, social changes and policy-making. The paper identifies some major paradigm shifts, such as the identification of vitamins in the early 20th century, and the recognition of the link between dietary patterns and some chronic diseases in the late 20th century.

4 July 2019

This book, edited by Robert Zeigler, assesses how economics, policy and plant and agricultural science affect global food security.

25 June 2019

This book examines the impacts that climate change is expected to have on food security and also explores the contribution to food security that could come from wild relatives of food crops.

11 June 2019

This book offers a cross-disciplinary collection of perspectives on the many sustainability issues facing the global food system today. Topics include food insecurity, healthy diets, organic food, food among refugees and food waste management strategies.

29 May 2019

This book by David Reay discusses how food security might be affected by climate change in the 21st century, including a comparison of how “climate smart” different food types are.

Image: DEZALB, India market fruit, Pixabay, Pixabay license
29 May 2019

This modelling paper finds that strategies to mitigate climate change could put an additional 160 million people at risk of hunger by 2050, if they are not designed carefully. However, these trade-offs could be avoided at a cost of around 0.2% of GDP in 2050.

8 May 2019

In this comment piece for Foodservice Footprint, Dan Crossley of the UK-based charity Food Ethics Council argues that the current model of charitable food assistance can give an excuse for businesses and policymakers to avoid addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity.

Image: Max Pixel, Plate knife cover, CC0 Public Domain
8 May 2019

One in five adults in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland experienced some level of food insecurity in 2016, according to this paper, with people who are younger, non-white, less educated, disabled, unemployed or low-income being more likely to experience food insecurity. Low-income adults had a 28% probability of being food-insecure in 2004, which by 2016 had risen to 46%.

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