Healthy eating is a great current consumer trend. Although it is rather a growing evolution since the concept of health has been evolving and increasing in importance.
We have reached the millennials and Generation Z with a concept of healthy eating in which fresh foods stand out, compared to the prepared and processed foods that predominate in the diet of bygone generations.
The food industry is also affected by the concept of corporate social responsibility: consumers pay attention to how companies conduct their business and impact the environment and society. With the rapid exchange of information and environmental campaigns, consumers increasingly become aware of the mismanagement of natural resources and social inequalities in the food system.
This is a crisis, and it demands a cohesive action plan, starting with a focus on food practices. The diet of the future must be not only healthy but also sustainable.
By 2030, population growth will increase to 8,500 million more (approximately 1 billion more people than today). It involves a growing increase in food and greater competition for natural resources. It is paradoxical that 815 million people go hungry (1 in 9), even though today, not enough food is insufficient to feed the entire planet.
Malnutrition affects a third of the population and is also a growing phenomenon in all countries. With imbalances in food distribution, a significant percentage of the food produced is lost or wasted, either in the distribution chain or in our homes.
These concerns led the 193 UN Member States to commit to ending hunger in the next 15 years and creating a better world for all people. These commitments were embodied in the Sustainable Development Summit, on September 25, 2015, as part of a new Sustainable Development Agenda: 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set for 2030, succeeding the Development Goals of the Millennium since January 1, 2016, and that shape national development plans.
From eradicating poverty and hunger to combating climate change and conserving our natural resources, food and agriculture are at the center of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: they are the fundamental connection between people and the planet.
The second of the SDGs set corresponds to Zero Hunger. It aims to ensure that people have access to nutritious food in sufficient quantity while maintaining natural resources, safeguarding biodiversity, and transforming food production systems while increasing productivity and reducing poverty in the primary sector.
On October 16, 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was born. Since 1979, World Food Day events are organized in more than 150 countries to raise awareness about world food and strengthen solidarity in the fight against hunger, malnutrition, and poverty, ensuring food sustainability that allows us all to lead an active and healthy life.
A good example was 2017’s theme of World Food Day: “change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development”. Migration is an international phenomenon associated with struggles and wars, natural disasters, or alike. The populations’ movements are constant throughout history, and safe and regular migration contributes to sustainable development, the dissemination of knowledge, and economic growth.
However, today it has become a significant challenge as the movements are more massive. Due to the poverty situation in rural areas (4 out of 5 poor people come from the rural environment), there is a loss of workers in food production and a complex distribution of natural resources. By the year 2050, two-thirds of the population will live in urban areas.
Migration from the rural environment to the cities has a lot to do with climate change: it harms natural resources, both the supply of quality water and the soil itself. The motto for this day in 2016 was “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture too”. The sustainability of the food system is exacerbated by the combination of increasing population and declining food production.
The food system does include food production and the food industry, the distribution chain, and consumers. A sustainable food system will be enough to feed a growing population, as long as each of the parts makes it up to function efficiently and contribute to our sustainability and system. All of us must be aware of the difficulty posed by the challenges facing our planet in the 21st century and convince ourselves of the need to contribute to sustainable development goals. We must join our hands in this effort.
When it comes to sustainable food, Future Food Institute, a non-profit organization from Italy, has been a flag-bearer in promoting innovation and development in the global food system. The organization is committed to promoting innovators, entrepreneurs, and experts engaged in devising innovative solutions and more sustainable means and processes.
Future Food Institute is led by the Founder and President, Sara Roversi. She is professionally attributed as an entrepreneur, innovator, author, activist, and public speaker. Roversi has been an influential figure in the realm of food sustainability, actively supporting and campaigning for sustainable practices. She has empowered, helped, and supported small to large initiatives to transform the world’s vision and commitment towards food in the future.
Roversi has touched on the food and hunger challenges facing the world in the future and has underlined action plans based on sustainable food systems, food innovation, and social entrepreneurship. She is a thought-leader in these fields and has championed innovative methods that continue to empower communities worldwide.
Roversi and her organization have stood for values, also by mentoring consumers to their bid. She has brought different examples of how efforts – great or small – can account for responsible consumption, creating a cycle of sustainable practices from purchasing, consumption, and recycling.
As consumers, we must learn responsible consumption: seasonal products, considering ethical and responsible actions to reduce waste at home, consuming our food with an active life, demanding corporate social responsibility in our purchase choice, etc.
In the job of policymakers, we have multidisciplinary groups that combine different knowledge to optimize solutions to the industry’s challenges: sustainability, natural resources, climate change, more effective, inclusive, and resilient food systems, logistics, sustainable and healthy food adapted to consumer trends. They put knowledge and work at the service of industry and society to contribute to the end of hunger and all forms of malnutrition.