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.

18 February 2020

This report from Sustainable Diets for All (a programme by Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development) documents a food diaries project in East Java that aimed to address the triple burden of malnutrition: co-existing undernutrition, overweight and micronutrient deficiencies.

3 February 2020

This book explores why hunger is still a problem in the modern world, including case studies from Niger, Northern India, Argentina and Chicago.

3 February 2020

This book shows how stories about the food system can be framed in different ways, and how people are affected by how stories are told about them. The book focuses on food insecurity, farm labour and obesity.

28 January 2020

This book addresses food loss and waste from a range of perspectives, looking at key stages in the supply chain, different types of commodity and different regions in the world.

28 January 2020

This report from the UK Soil Association’s Food for Life initiative explores the state of children’s food in England. It finds that 4 in 10 children leaving primary school will be overweight or obese by 2024, nine out of ten preschool children eat too much sugar and UK families eat the most ultra-processed diet in Europe.

28 January 2020

This report from the Food Systems Group of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute argues that small-scale (less than 20 ha) family farms are and will continue to be important suppliers of food in middle- and low-income countries, and that oversimplified narratives get in the way of effective policymaking.

28 January 2020

This paper finds that over ten billion people could be fed within the constraints of four planetary boundaries (biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, and nitrogen flows), if the food system undergoes a “technological-cultural U-turn”.

20 January 2020

According to the Global Risks Report 2020 by the global NGO World Economic Forum, the five risks with the greatest likelihood of happening all relate to the environment (as opposed to the economy, society, geopolitics or technology). The five risks are: extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters.

20 January 2020

This paper reviews the ingredients and nutrient contents of several plant-based meat alternatives (made from soy, other legumes, mycoprotein and cereals) and compares them to traditional meat products. It finds that no broad conclusions can be drawn about whether meat analogues or traditional meat products are healthier, with their composition varying between products.

13 January 2020

Farmwel chief executive ffinlo Costain has launched a new podcast, Farm Gate, which focuses on practical solutions for climate and food security. The topics covered are relevant for everyone who eats food, but particularly intended for farmers, food chain professionals, and policy-makers. The FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed in the episode Is 'vegan' a dirty word?

7 January 2020

The Lancet and the World Health Organisation have produced a series on the double burden of malnutrition and how it affects low- and middle-income countries. The double burden of malnutrition refers to the simultaneous presence of overnutrition (e.g. overweight and obesity) and undernutrition (e.g. stunting and wasting) in a country, city, community or person. 

2 December 2019

According to this article by the New Food Economy, the United States has experienced five E. coli outbreaks in the leafy green supply chain in two years. The latest outbreak, affecting romaine lettuce, originated in Salinas, California. A task force found that a 2018 outbreak was possibly linked to the presence of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) near lettuce farms.

25 November 2019

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food consortium has recently launched a podcast series, The Food Fight, which examines the biggest challenges facing the food system, and the innovations and entrepreneurs looking to solve them.

25 November 2019

This book examines the socio-economic dimensions of food security, including drivers of food demand, determinants of food supply, coordinating supply and demand, and case studies of countries with both high and low food security.

25 November 2019

This book sets out the importance of assessing food security policies, such as to address failures of past food policies, and gives practical guidance on how to use evidence to analyse policies.

19 November 2019

This book, edited by Mark Lawrence and Sharon Friel, sets out ideas on health, sustainability and equity in food systems, discusses the current state of the food system and suggests how policymakers and practitioners can create healthy and sustainable food systems.

19 November 2019

This report from charitable coalition End Hunger UK sets out the arguments for addressing the root causes of hunger in the UK from seven perspectives: morality, child welfare, health, secure income, human rights, politics and public opinion.

19 November 2019

According to this study, the diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet commission on grounds of health and sustainability is too expensive for around 1.6 billion people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. The study is based on food prices and household incomes in 159 countries. 

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