Skip to main content

Getting private sector to favour nutritious, affordable and accessible diets

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in partnership with FAO, suggests ways in which governments can persuade food industry partners to provide consumers with better access to healthier diets


With poor diets posing a greater global health risk than air pollution, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined, the private sector needs to play a stronger role in encouraging people to eat more nutritious food, according to a new policy brief launched today.

The brief, by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), suggests ways in which governments can persuade food industry partners to provide consumers with better access to healthier diets.

Some 815 million people in the world are still chronically undernourished and other forms of malnutrition are increasing, latest estimates show. With dietary patterns shifting - away from traditional foods towards fats, sugars and ultra-processed foods - more people, particularly in low to middle income countries, suffer from mineral and vitamin deficiencies, overweight and obesity.

The policy brief
Challenges and opportunities for engagement between the public and private sectors, notes that interventions by the public sector alone will not be enough to address these issues.

It calls for action: creating enabling measures that stimulate firms to "shift the balance of their activities" in favour of fresh produce and other products which are more nutritious, affordable and accessible to all.

Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition co-Chair, John Beddington said: "While the goal of economic development can lead to healthier and more varied diets, it also increases the consumption of unhealthy ultra-processed foods, even more." He emphasised that "producing healthier food doesn't mean less profit. With the right mix of regulations and incentives, the private sector can profit from healthier diets."

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, "Achieving Zero Hunger and eradicating malnutrition is a public responsibility, for which concrete actions should be taken by every individual throughout food systems. Governments must do better in defining clear standards and incentives for businesses in order to achieve better nutrition for all. The promotion of healthy diets is to everybody's gain."

A partnership approach
The brief notes how there are opportunities and benefits for both public and private interests to move forward in partnership. For this to take place, open dialogue is essential to building trust.
It is therefore crucial that governments, donors, the private sector and international organisations see poor diets as a critically important distributional issue that deserves the same attention as other facets of distribution, such as income or wellbeing.

With the health burden associated with poor diets already affecting one in three of the global population and the prospect of this rising to one in two in the decades ahead, policymakers and the private sector cannot afford inaction, the brief concludes.

1 Votes with an average with 3
For more updates, be socially connected with us on
WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Youtube

Related Story

Does Seeds Bill 2019 undermine farmers’ rights?

Government of India is expected to introduce the Seeds Bill 2019 in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament. The Bill, expected to replace the Seeds Act 1966, has been pending since 2004.…

Why Economic Times Rural Strategy Summit is vital for marketers?

The Economic Times is going to organise its 7th Annual The Economic Times Rural Strategy Summit 2019 on December 13, 2019 in New Delhi.
 
The rural market is now clearly segregating…

India’s farm equipment market to grow to $18 bn by 2025: FICCI-PwC report

India’s farm equipment market likely to grow to US$ 18 billion by 2025 from USD 13 billion. Farm mechanisation in India is in the initial stages, with the mechanisation level ranging from 40–45…