Nourishing diversity in our food systems

THE GFAR BLOG

1_Food Change Lab in Zambia. Credit - Salimu Dawood

On the surface at least, modern foods systems appear to be astonishingly diverse. A person walking into a supermarket almost anywhere in the world can be overwhelmed by the profusion of choices. The productivity of our food systems is also impressive: between 1961 and 2001, crop yields more than doubled in all regions of the developing world except Africa. [1]

But this abundance and variety are deceptive. Hunger and malnutrition persist in many countries in spite of increased food production. A few ingredients like refined flour, sugar, soy, palm oil and high fructose corn syrup appear over and over again in a huge range of different products. What seems like variety is actually just endless re-engineering, re-combining and repackaging of the same basic, highly processed ingredients. Meanwhile, rising consumption of ultra-processed foods such as sodas, chips, energy bars and candies are contributing towards a global epidemic of overweight and obesity…

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