Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century

  • 07th October 2016
  • by secretary

23rd September 2016. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition published its new Report, Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century.

This evidence-based Report is designed to help policymakers make their food systems more supportive of high quality diets.

The need for action on malnutrition

  • Poor diet is the number one risk factor driving the world’s disease burden.
  • Three billion people from 193 countries now have low quality diets and nearly half of all countries are experiencing the simultaneous problem of serious levels of undernutrition, overweight and obesity. Yet our global understanding about the quality of our diets is limited. 

The Report

  • Using modelling and trend analysis, the Report generates a new understanding of diets and food systems, and how they could change by 2030.
  • The analysis shows that if current trends continue, by 2030 nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese, up from one third today. The poorest countries are not immune to these trends. 
  • It also shows how these trends have enormous economic impacts at the macro and micro levels, as well major consequences for mortality and morbidity. For example, at the macro level, cost are estimated to represent an annual loss of 10% global GDP, equivalent to a global financial crisis every year.
  • Drawing on over 250 data sources and peer-reviewed articles, the Report lists a series of recommendations for policymakers in low and middle income countries through a ‘Call to Action’.
  • The Report presents evidence showing that the risk that poor diets pose to mortality and morbidity is now greater than the combined risks of unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use.
  • But, as the Report shows that there are many opportunities for action within the food system.

A Call to Action

  • This Report identifies decisions that policymakers need to take in the coming decade, particularly for women and children, to invest in effective policies to reduce all forms of malnutrition, repositioning food systems from feeding people to nourishing people.
  • Actions which go beyond agriculture to encompass trade, the environment and health, harnessing the power of the private sector and empowering consumers to demand better diets.
  • Enhancing the ability of food systems to deliver high quality diets is a choice that is well within the grasp of policymakers. It is a choice that will help achieve the SDG goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. It is a choice that will reap benefits for decades to come, for all people, in all countries. 
  • Only a response on the scale and commitment used to tackle HIV/AIDS and malaria will be sufficient to meet the challenge, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

“This Report makes clear the enormous challenge posed by malnutrition and poor diets generally to the detriment of many millions of individuals and indeed whole economies.” Sir John Beddington, Co-Chair of the Global Panel, and former UK Chief Scientific Advisor

The Global Panel is planning a series of regional launches and presentations of the Foresight report:

  • 7 October – Foresight South Asian launch in Partnership with The Public Health Foundation in India – Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, India
  • 9-14 October – The Foresight report will be shared with participants at the seventh African Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VII) – Marrakesh, Morocco
  • 12-14 October – Side event at the World Food Prize with prof. Lawrence Haddad, Chair of the Foresight Lead Expert Group – Des Moines, Iowa, USA
  • 18 October – Side event at CFS 43 in Partnership with Harvest Plus, IFPR and the FAO – Rome, Italy
  • 28 October – African launch in occasion of the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security, with Panel Co-Chair H.E. John Kufuor, former president of Ghana – Accra, Ghana
  • 2 November – UK launch in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development – House of Commons, London, UK
  • 15 November – Panel discussion and presentation of the Foresight Report at the Integrated Nutrition Conference – Nairobi, Kenya


The Consumer Goods Forum

The topics addressed will include Food Waste, Forced Labour and Health and Wellness.

Internationally renowned speakers, round table discussions, workshops and networking opportunities will provide applicable learnings from FMCG experts (company CEOs), high level government representatives, international organisations, inspirational health & sustainability leaders and other stakeholders.
USSEC: the critical issues behind soy sourcing and sustainable production.
This session offers a unique opportunity for The Consumer Goods Forum and the U.S. Soybean Export Council to educate and inform a broader audience of CGF members on the critical issues around soy sourcing and sustainable production. Focus will be placed firmly within the context of the work done by the CGF on deforestation, highlighting recent work carried out to update the soy sourcing guidelines. USSEC will present the US Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and their efforts to gain greater recognition and acceptance by European traders, feed companies, livestock producers and retailers and consumers. Finally, US soy producers will provide their first-hand experience on what sustainability means to them, the soy value chain and American consumers.

 Food waste is an enormous environmental, social and economic challenge. A third of food calories produced are never eaten. It represents an economic cost to the global economy of $940 billion per year and, if food waste were a country, its carbon footprint would be third only to China and the US. Given the magnitude of this challenge, the consumer goods industry is publicly committed to food waste reduction.

CEO Chimney Talk 

  • Thierry Cotillard, CEO, Intermarché Alimentaire Internationale 
  • Mike Coupe, CEO, Sainsbury’s 
  • Dave Lewis, Group CEO, Tesco Stores

Expert Panel 

  • Craig Hanson, Global Director (Food, Forests and Water) World Resources Institute 
  • Sabine Juelicher, Director, DG Health and Food Safety, Directorate E – Food and feed safety Innovation, European Commission 
  • Pierre Galio, Head of the Consumer and Prevention Department, The French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME 
  • Jérôme Bédier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary, Carrefour Group