A new global research agenda for food
This opinion article written by Lawrence Haddad and colleagues in Nature argues that it is time for a new research agenda on food that shifts the focus from feeding people towards nourishing them. They argue that malnutrition is not a problem that can be overcome through growth or development since even as economies expand, the quality of diets does not improve. The authors argue that piecemeal action will not do because the trends are so large and interconnected that the entire food system needs overhauling. No single government ministry or sector ‘owns’ the quality of diets available to the consumer. Therefore the authors set out a new global research agenda for nutrition focused on ten research priorities. Some of the priorities are: making more data on diets widely available; ensure agreement on what constitute a healthy diet (acknowledging the nutritional value of indigenous foods); tackling and understanding the role of chain length; and identifying economic levers for change. The article concludes with a call to policy-makers to recognize that diets are compromising economic productivity; to funders to focus their resources accordingly, doubling their current allocation to more-nutritious food systems by 2020; and to researchers and journalist to become more pluralistic in the methods and approaches that they support.