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Making Better Policies for Food Systems

image of Making Better Policies for Food Systems

Food systems around the world face a triple challenge: providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population; supporting livelihoods for those working along the food supply chain; and contributing to environmental sustainability. Better policies hold tremendous promise for making progress in these domains. This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies? Better policies will require breaking down silos between agriculture, health, and environmental policies, and overcoming knowledge gaps, resistance from interest groups, and differing values. Robust, inclusive, evidence-based processes are thus essential to making better policies for food systems.

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The contribution of the processed food sector to the triple challenge

This chapter provides an overview of the processed food sector as it relates to each dimension of the triple challenge. The term “processed food” is defined here as any food that has been altered in some way from its raw state. The processed food sector accounts for a significant share of income generation and employment and is essential to maintaining a steady global supply of safe, affordable, and nutritious foods and is thus key to supporting food security and nutrition. Despite broad benefits brought by food technology, some processing activities produce foods that are energy-dense and nutrient-poor and are associated with negative health effects when consumed in excess.

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