“When Enough Is Not Enough”: Our Food Systems Are Badly Out of Balance

  • Sirpa Sarlio
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Public Health book series (BRIEFSPUBLIC)


Today’s food systems are badly out of balance. The current agricultural system is producing more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet but access to such food and its consumption is very uneven. Some 209 million children are undernourished but 41 million children and nearly 2 billion adults are overweight, largely because they are over consuming energy-rich foods. Moreover, about one-third of all food produced worldwide that is intended for human consumption is never eaten but is lost or wasted at some point between farm and fork. In more affluent societies eating cultures have developed that require multiple choices of food in abundant supply. Excess food in such societies inevitably results in either people being overweight or food being wasted. This chapter discusses these topics, linking them to food security and different innovative ways proposed of reducing food loss and food waste. It also covers some approaches towards changing food systems including moving towards more consumption of seasonal and/or local foods, emphasizing regional dietary patterns and promoting alternative production methods.


Double burden Malnutrition Food loss and food waste Biofuels Obesity Food systems Regional diets Food production 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sirpa Sarlio
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Helsinki, Ministry of Social Affairs & HealthHelsinkiFinland

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