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  • Created 03 May 2015

About the Group

Context. With about 1 billion people hungry, 2 billion with insufficient nutrients and over 2 billion already overweight or obese (Ng et al. 2014), malnutrition is affecting the health outcomes of over half the global population.

The Food System. Many factors besides food production drive food and nutrition security. The food system refers to the entire system of activities by which calories and nutrients are grown, harvested, traded, processed, transported, stored, sold, prepared and eventually become the food we consume. Thus, food system ‘actors’ include producers, post farm gate food chain actors and consumers. There are multiple feedbacks among these activities, resulting in the overall food security outcomes (as relating to availability of, access to and utilization of food).

Food Security. Food and nutrition security depends on access to and consumption of a balanced and nutritious diet. The degree to which an individual is under- or over-nourished is determined by factors including: the availability and affordability of food; the amount and nutrient profile of food consumed; and individual health. Other factors such as cultural norms, habits, preferences, and convenience are also important. These factors collectively determine whether an individual receives a satisfactory diet. Over half the global population receives an unsatisfactory diet. Meanwhile, current ‘food chain’ activities are already seriously undermining the natural resource base upon which food security depends. These nutrition and environmental concerns point to inefficiencies in the food system as a whole. Better tools are needed to assess options for moving towards a sustainable, adequate and nutrient secure society.