Nutritious Food Foresight: Twelve ways to invest in good food for emerging markets
This study (PDF) by GAIN and the Global Knowledge Initiative identified innovation opportunities that have the potential to increase access to safe and nutritious foods in emerging markets in the next five years. Our global food system reinforces an imbalance between the world we have and the world we want. Innovation is a force for positive change in food systems. Balancing food systems will require substantial changes in the way we grow food, choose food as consumers, and process and distribute food in the global marketplace. The twelve innovation opportunities share a central tenet: context-appropriate innovations aimed at inefficiencies and waste reduction can do more to make local markets work in the near term than excedingly radical or disruptive innovations might. The 12 innovations are distinguished by 4 priorities: 1) Start with sustainable, nutritious foods; 2) Invest in proximale processing; 3) Tackle traceability for safety and transparency and; 4) Keep it cool (cold storage options). Each of these innovations would provide benefits by supporting improvements in local market systems. Together, they would promote increased access to safe, nutritious foods that are available to consumers for longer periods of time. Ultimately policy, consumer preference, and business models will drive whether or not these foods are affordable, but by bringing more food to market there are opportunities to bring prices down by increasing the level of supply in the system. While these innovations largely represent incremental improvements, if well adapted to local contexts, they could drive significant changes in food systems, improving human well-being and environmental sustainability. The twelve innovations highlighted in this report are viable technologies, processes, and business models that can promote incremental change in the locales where it is needed most. If we capitalize on the opportunity presented by these innovations, we can begin the necessary shifts in our approach to food systems and start to bring food, people, and planet into balance.