Food systems – all the processes involved in feeding the global population – are key to supporting good health and well-being and are a critical part of the biosphere, underpinning prosperous societies and economies. Yet current food systems are not providing adequately for people or the planet. Despite progress on improving nutrition, the burden of malnutrition remains stubbornly high: 815 million individuals are hungry, 2 billion are deficient in critical micronutrients, and 2.1 billion adults are overweight or obese, contributing to the upsurge in diet-related diseases. Beyond nutritional outcomes, food systems are also a main contributor to environmental damage. They are responsible for up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of global freshwater use, and they drive deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation and pollution.
Action is needed urgently to shift food systems from their current status as major drivers of ill health and environmental degradation to a major force for securing both environmental and human health. Achieving impact requires transformational change over a two-year time frame to demonstrate traction. To be transformational, action will need to be broad-scale, collective and mainstreamed. Yet a business case will only advance action so far: support is needed from science, policy, the technology sector and civil society to develop solutions, implement supportive policy, develop new tech solutions and engage with consumer groups to increase trust.
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