Future Food Institute Identifies Key Contributors To Nutrition Inequality With Global Study
The Future Food Institute (FFI), in partnership with the Dole Sunshine Company, today announced the release of Nutrition Unpacked, a co-branded research initiative ‘unpacking’ little known insights about nutritional inequalities and gaps around the world. The study, conducted over the course of three months, combines quantitative data with the input of academics, practitioners and the voices of grassroots communities to uncover the underlying causes of global nutrition inequality and identify actionable outcomes.
A key aspect of the initiative was to bring stakeholders to the table to openly discuss barriers, gaps and potential solutions through a series of six FFI hosted dinners in Brazil, India, Zimbabwe, the United States, Poland, and Japan. At each meal, educators, farmers, scientists, chefs, food technologists, policymakers, nutritionists, consumers and more gathered around a table, shared a meal, and discussed their thoughts and perceptions about the gaps in nutrition and potential solutions. Conversations centered around how acceptability (education), affordability and availability impact food access.
“Nutrition for All implies a shared responsibility to find adequate measures that benefit all stakeholders across the complex food system,” said Sara Roversi, founder of the Future Food Institute. “To that end, we partnered not only with Dole, but with like-minded individuals and organizations all around the world to uncover the underlying causes of malnutrition and food inequality. By combining quantitative research and grassroots validation, we sought to uncover insights to drive opportunities for efficient policymaking and overall social impact.”
The nutrition gap is defined as the mismatch between the nutrients needed for a healthy diet and the nutrients consumed, and can be the result of availability, affordability, access, and/or food choices. More than 820 million people don’t have enough to eat, yet, at the same time, no region is exempted from obesity and one in three people worldwide are affected by malnutrition, making it the largest contributor to disease in the world.
“We believe that good nutrition should be like sunshine, accessible to all regardless of their gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Looking at the nutrition gaps through this research helped us uncover new insights and fundamental local nuances crucial to creating sustainable solutions together,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, president, Dole Sunshine Company. “Closing the nutrition gaps is not just about understanding the different populations but also the food ecosystems and the processes that contribute to unequal distribution.”
The research ‘unpacks’ four areas of focus that FFI and Dole will explore and share:
- Social Nutrition. The connection between food habits and broader social patterns to explore why we eat the way we do.
- Food Generation Gap. The values, preferences, beliefs, practices, and desires that shape consumer behavior and generational differences and perspectives such as sustainability, taste, waste production, traditions, and eating behavior.
- Hidden Hunger. This occurs when food quality does not satisfy nutrient requirements. Key causes driving “hidden hunger” include scarcity and contamination of natural resources, access to nutritious food, mass-scale production of monoculture, nutritional quality, food loss, and lifestyle changes.
- Ecosystem: To assure nutrition for all, it is essential to go beyond undernutrition, focusing instead on redefining the food ecosystem while considering sustainability, food value chains, communities, and infrastructures.
“Achieving nutrition for all requires many of us working together to completely reshape our food ecosystem,” added Sigismondi. “How we do that without compromising the livelihoods of local farmers and the limits of our planet is a question we work towards answering each and every day.”