Advertisement

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

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

References

  1. Berry EM, Dernini S, Burlingame B, Meybeck A, Conforti P (2015) Food security and sustainability: can one exist without the other? Public Health Nutr 18(13):2293–2302CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Brunori G, Galli F, Bajolle D et al (2016) Are local food chains more sustainable than global food chains? Considerations for assessment. Sustainability 8:449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caraher M, Furey S (2017) Is it appropriate to use surplus food to feed people in hunger? Short-term Band-Aid to more deep rooted problems of poverty. Food Research Collaboration Policy Brief, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. CFS (2016) Global strategic framework food security and nutrition. Committee on World Food Security, CFS 2016/43/13, RomeGoogle Scholar
  5. Council of the European Union (2016) Food losses and food waste. Council Conclusions 10730/16. Accepted 28 June 2016Google Scholar
  6. Edwards P, Roberts I (2009) Population adiposity and climate change. Int J Epidemiol 38(4):1137–1140CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Edwards-Jones G (2010) Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health? Proc Nutr Soc 69:582–591CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. EFSA (2006) Tolerable upper intake levels for vitamins and minerals. Scientific Committee on Food, Scientific Panel on Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies, EFSAGoogle Scholar
  9. EU (2016) Working Document to prepare EU guidelines on food donation. Draft for presentation to the EU platform on food losses and food waste 29 November 2016Google Scholar
  10. Fraser E, Legwegoh A, Krishna KC et al (2016) Biotechnology or organic? Extensive or intensive? Global or local? A critical review of potential pathways to resolve the global food crisis. Trends Food Sci Technol 48:78–87. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09242244 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Garcia JM, Teixeira P (2017) Organic vs conventional food. A comparison regarding food safety. Food Rev Int 33(4):424–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Girotto F, Alibardi L, Cossu R (2015) Food waste generation and industrial uses: a review. Waste Manag 45:32–41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Gjerris M, Gaiani S (2014) Food waste and consumer ethics. In: Thompson PB, Kaplan DM (eds) Encyclopedia of food and agricultural ethics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 1000–1006Google Scholar
  14. Gladek E, Fraser M, Roemers G, Munoz OS, Kennedy E, Hirsch P (2016) The global food system: an analysis. Metabolic, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  15. Global Food Security Index (2016) An annual measure of the state of global food security. Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Global Nutrition Report (2016) From promise to impact: ending malnutrition by 2030. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC. http://dx.doi.org/10.2499/9780896295841
  17. Gussow J, Clancy K (1986) Dietary guidelines for sustainability. J Nutr Educ 18(1):1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkes C, Chopra M, Friel s (2009) Globalization, trade, and the nutrition transition. In: Laboute R, Schrecken T, Packer C, Runnels V (eds) Globalization and health: pathways, evidence and policy. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. HLPE (2013) Biofuels and food security. A report from the high level panel of experts on food security and nutrition of the committee on world food security, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. HLPE (2014) Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems. A report by the high level panel of experts on food security and nutrition of the committee on world food security. RomeGoogle Scholar
  21. Imamura F, Micha R, Khatibzadeh S, Fahimi S, Shi P, Powles J, Mozaffarian D (2015) Dietary quality among men and women in 187 countries in 1990 and 2010: a systematic assessment. Lancet Glob Health 3:e132–e142CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Jalava M, Kummu M, Porkka M et al (2014) Diet change – a solution to reduce water use? Environ Res Lett 9:074016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jensen JD, Saxe H, Denver S (2015) Cost-effectiveness of a New Nordic Diet as a strategy for health promotion. Int J Environ Res Public Health 12:7370–7391CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Macdiarmid JI (2014) Seasonality and dietary requirements: will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? Proc Nutr Soc 73:368–375CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Niggli U (2015) Sustainability of organic production: challenges and innovations. Proc Nutr Soc 74:83–88CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Olson EL (2017) The rationalization and persistence of organic food beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. J Clean Prod 140:1007–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perignon M, Vieux F, Soler L-G, Masset G, Darmon N (2017) Improving diet sustainability through evolution of food choices: review of epidemiological studies on environmental impact of diets. Nutr Rev 75(1):2–17CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Porpino G, Wansink B, Parente J (2016) Wasted positive intentions: the role of affection and abundance on household food waste. J Food Prod Mark 22(7):733–751.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10454446.2015.1121433 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ranganathan J, Vennard D, Waite R et al (2016) Shifting diets for sustainable future. Working paper April 2016, World Resources InstituteGoogle Scholar
  30. Saxe H (2014) The New Nordic Diet is an effective tool in environmental protection: it reduces the associated socioeconomic cost of diets. Am J Clin Nutr 99:1117–1125CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Serafini M, Toti E (2016) Unsustainability of obesity: metabolic food waste. Front Nutr 3:40.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2016.00040 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. Seufert V, Ramankutty N, Foley JA (2012) Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture. Nature 485:229–232.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11069 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Sonnino R, Marsden T, Moragues-Faus A (2016) Relationalities and convergences in food security narratives: towards a place-based approach. Transactions 41:447–489.  https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12137 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. UNEP (2014) Prevention and reduction of food and drink waste in businesses and households. Guidance for governments, local authorities, businesses and other organisations, Version 1.0. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/save-food/PDF/Guidance-content.pdf
  35. van Dooren C, Aiking H (2016) Defining a nutritionally healthy, environmentally friendly, and culturally acceptable Low Lands Diet. Int J Life Cycle Assess 21:688–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Waipole SC, Prieto-Merino D, Edwards P, Cleland J, Stevens G, Roberts I (2012) Weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass. BMC Public Health 12:439.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-439 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations