Promoting Healthy Food Systems

The challenge of “Feeding the World” not only means producing enough food and calories, but also ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious and safe foods and balanced and healthy diets. To achieve that objective, agriculture, nutrition health and other sectors that comprise the entire food system must support greater cooperation.

By concentrating research on improving diet quality and nutrition for the poor, IFPRI is spearheading research that focuses particularly on women and children, who have high requirements for essential nutrients. A unique twist is work on informal markets within developing countries (in which women often play a significant role). IFPRI also shows how access to markets and economic growth shapes food choices and habits for the poor, with the aim of maintaining the safety of nutrient-rich foods and protecting or enhancing their nutrient content. Approaches will also be developed to maintain nutrient-rich food safety and protect or enhance their nutrient content along the value chain.

At the other end of the food system spectrum, approaches will be developed for understanding dietary patterns better and to raise consumer awareness and alter behaviors regarding food choices, safety and nutrition, not least because of the modernization of food retail markets.

The potential impact is strong: food systems that provide more nutritious and safer food, improve diet quality and nutrition and health programs, and promote cross-sectoral policy and investment.