Guiding Nutritious Food Choices and Diets along Food System

Beulah Pretorius, ,Jane Ambuko,Effie Papargyropoulou and Hettie C. Schönfeldt
Sustainability (MDPI)
Resource type:
Peer review

Poor diets are responsible for more of the global burden of disease than sex, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco combined. Without good health, food security, and nutrition, development is unsustainable. How food is grown, distributed, processed, marketed, and sold determines which foods are available, affordable, and acceptable within the local cultural context. These factors guide food choices, influencing the quality of people’s diets, and hence they play a vital part in health. The food system is complex and is neither nutrition nor health driven. Good nutrition and human health are not seen as important supply chain outcomes, diminishing between the different processes and actors in the chain. This is in contrast to the environmental and labour concerns now also perceived as supply chain issues. Although food loss and waste is now appreciated as key to sustainable food supply chains, the critical role on nutrition security remains obscure. In a free market dispensation, the trade-offs between agricultural production and income generation versus nutrient delivery from farm to fork needs to be addressed. Investment and incentivised initiatives are needed to foster diverse food production, preservation, distribution and influence consumers’ behaviour and consumption. The decisions made at any stage of the food supply chain have implications on consumer choices, dietary patterns, and nutritional outcomes. Leveraging the entire food system is an underused policy response to the growing problem of unhealthy diets.

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This resource has been peer reviewed