Food systems play a central role across all of human society. The production and consumption of sufficient, affordable and nutritious food is vital for our survival. Achieving this while also conserving the natural resources and ecosystems on which our food systems depend is vital to ensuring sustainable development.

While there is not one commonly agreed definition of food sustainability, it is well accepted that our current food systems are unsustainable and result in social, economic and ecological impacts.

“(O)ver 800 million people are chronically undernourished, facing daily food shortages, while more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight, of whom over 650 million are defined as obese”.

SAPEA, 2020: p.20
Reference: SAPEA, Science Advice for Policy by European Academies. (2020). A sustainable food system for the European Union. Berlin: SAPEA.

This paradox means that while many people around the world lack access to enough food, there are many other people who over-consume food and/or consume unhealthy foods. Both these groups are effectively malnourished.