The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainable Food Systems

The world faces significant nutritional challenges regarding widespread malnutrition in all its forms. Urbanisation and modernisation have resulted in dietary shifts towards higher intake of animal-source foods, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods, and a lower intake of whole grains. Globally, intake of healthy food has increased, but at the same time intake of unhealthy food has increased more rapidly. Unhealthy diets contribute significantly to the global burden of disease. At the same time, the food system is resource-intensive and has a significant impact on the environment. In general, the negative environmental impact is lower for foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and highest for animal-source foods, especially red meat.

The food system includes all activities that relate to products. processing, distribution, preparation, and consumption of food. the global food system needs to provide enough food for the growing world population, but at the same time needs to provide healthy foods to prevent all forms of malnutrition. food systems further need to be economically viable and minimize environmental degradation. When transforming food systems, the different domains of sustainable diets (nutrition, environment, economics, and society), and the trade-offs between them need to be considered.

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