The scope of potential action in food systems is large. Food systems include a huge amount of activity related to producing, processing, distributing, preparing and consuming food. This Brief, the starting point of which has been a review of major international evidence-based expert reports on food systems, includes detailed recommendations on how to orient food systems towards healthier diets. It sets out 42 policies and actions with potential to get food systems working for healthier diets for all. This includes actions which can directly shift food systems towards increasing the availability, affordability, appeal/acceptability of high quality, safe, nutritious foods in food environments, and away from nutrient poor refined foods, products high in sugars, fats, and/ or salt (e.g. fried foods sold by street vendors) and prepackaged “ultra-processed” snacks.
Aligned with the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) report Food Systems and Nutrition, the list is made up of actions with the potential to effect change through food supply chains, food environments and consumers. Actions to change principles, governance and political processes, although critically important to frame and enable the delivery of these actions, were not the focus of the project. Actions and their resultant impact has been detailed for : Agricultural actions, International trade actions, Supply chain infrastructure actions, Financial actions, Public institution actions, Business incentives, Regulations and laws, Education and public awareness actions, National guidelines,
The next stages of the project are to : a. Select a number of actions from the 42 that are essential in every context to laying the foundations of a nutritious food system for all – the policies and programmes which any policymaker who is serious about improving diets and nutrition would enact at a minimum. b. Integrate the 42 actions into the Food Systems Dashboard. c. Assess the synergies and trade-offs between the 42 actions with environmental sustainability and livelihoods to assess if and how they can be used to support these goals.
- Food systems include a huge amount of activity related to producing, processing, distributing, preparing and consuming food.. Thus the scope of potential action in food systems is large.
- Evidence-based reports show that actions throughout food systems have the potential to improve nutrition.
- There is a need to cohesively inform, to lay the foundations of a nutritious food system – the policies and programmes which any policymaker serious about improving diets and nutrition would need to enact at a minimum.
- The Food Systems Dashboard can be used by anyone interested or involved in the food system i.e. Policymakers at the country, regional, and global levels; National statistical agency workers; Policy analysts in government ministries; United Nations and non-governmental organization development practitioners ; Civil society workers; Business leaders and entrepreneurs ; Researchers, academics, and students