A new paper by WBCSD highlights the role of the food industry in making healthy diets more affordable

Published: 15 Jul 2022
Type: News

Geneva, 15 July 2022 – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and nine leading companies operating in the food and agriculture value chain have released a new paper that outlines four key areas for scaling business action to increase food affordability. The paper includes business case studies highlighting how various stakeholders along food and agriculture value chains can collaborate to improve the affordability and accessibility of food.

Today, 3.1 billion people globally cannot afford a healthy diet – a diverse range of nutritious foods that meet energy requirements and provide all the essential micronutrients in the right amounts. According to the 2022 SOFI Report, food insecurity continues to escalate worldwide, with already 216 million people facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity in 2021. Experts expect the situation to worsen in the coming months, with the number of people facing starvation reaching 400 million by 2024.

Conflict, climate variability, global pandemics and economic downturns are significant external drivers that affect food affordability. WBCSD’s vision is for nutritious food to be available and affordable for all. To achieve this, it is crucial to examine why healthy diets are unaffordable for many and how businesses can improve food affordability.

In low-income countries, key internal drivers of the cost of healthy diets include inefficient food production, high production risks and insufficient diversification of crops, livestock and other nutritious produce.

The newly released paper outlines four key areas where businesses can act to increase the affordability of foods.

  • Strengthening climate resilience by developing new climate-resistant breeds and using a diversity of crops and breeds that are the most adaptable to a changing climate
  • Leveraging innovation capabilities and know-how all along the food supply chain- empowering farmers to adopt better farming and post-harvest techniques that will positively impact yields and reduce food loss and waste. Companies also contribute to deliver safe, affordable, nutritious foods to consumers in urban and rural areas by seeking efficiency in manufacturing and distribution channels
  • Collaborating and advocating for the consumption of nutritious foods to support a healthy diet within a sustainable food system
  • Investing in programs that go beyond price reductions and help to improve the livelihoods of populations vulnerable to economic instability

Leading companies are already taking action along their value chains. This paper offers a snapshot of companies’ on-going work toward delivering healthy and sustainable diets to all, produced responsibly and within planetary boundaries, by 2030. 

“At Griffith Foods, we are focused on building a more sustainable future for food.  By collaborating with others through our role as a product development partner, we aspire to deliver nutritious food that is accessible and affordable to a growing population. We are proud to contribute to the insights shared in this report on food affordability and look forward to the ongoing opportunities it brings to learn from one another.” Dave Bender, Global Vice President, Research & Development at Griffith Foods

“Bayer’s vision is health for all, hunger for none. In our Vegetable Seeds business, we work toward that vision in many ways. For example, our team has developed and offered smallholder growers seed innovations that improve life shelf, making it easier for them to distribute. Bayer is also proud to have recently joined the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge, committing to investing USD $101M in research and development by 2030.” Inci Dannenberg, President Global Vegetable Seeds, Bayer

“The 2022 State of Food Security & Nutrition in the World report highlights that the increase in global hunger in 2021 reflects growing inequalities across and within countries. Around 2.3 billion people in the world were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021, and 216 million people facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity. The situation is expected to significantly worsen in the coming months due to disruptions in the food and energy systems, notably due to the war in Ukraine as well as climate change. In the face of this worsening context, we must more than ever must take bold actions to transform our food system to ensure access to all to healthy diets, produced responsibly within planetary boundaries”. Emeline Fellus, Director, FReSH, WBCSD

For more information about WBCSD’s work on Food Affordability, please contact: Pietro Grilli, Senior Associate, Food & Forest Finance, WBCSD

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