Home Tetra Laval Annual report Tetra Laval Sustainable Food Systems The necessity of transforming our food systems

The necessity of transforming our food systems

Everyone deserves the right to have access to safe and nutritious food. Securing efficient food distribution has been the founding principle for Tetra Laval. Millions of people around the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Food systems in general are today inefficient, unbalanced and in some ways unsustainable. As these systems profoundly affect our health, environment, economies and cultures, transforming them can help create a more sustainable society – while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Multiple challenges for global food systems

More and more countries are experiencing the double burden of malnutrition, where one in nine people suffer from undernutrition while a third of people are obese or overweight. Fighting hunger has been a world challenge for decades. But the situation has worsened due to Russia/Ukraine war and the pandemic with a widespread loss of incomes, threatening food security, health and nutrition, and about 690 million people are currently suffering from hunger.

The demand for food is expected to continue to grow because of both population growth and rising incomes, which puts additional pressure on food systems. By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion, increasing the demand for food. Food systems are also vulnerable to disruptions from human conflicts and from climate change, i.e., farming and harvesting disruptions, water scarcity, soil erosion and drought resulting in lower food production.

In addition, global food systems, account for about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. About a third of all food produced is also lost or wasted, mainly due to insufficient production practices, inadequate infrastructure, lack of packaging, short shelf life and unsustainable consumption practices.

The UN Food System actions areas

On 23 September, the UN convened a Food Systems Summit in New York as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. An ambition of the summit was to propose new actions to deliver progress on the 17 SDGs, which are all related to some degree to healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. Read more about the Food Systems Summit:  www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit

There are five areas to accelerate action to deliver on Agenda 2030 through food systems:

Five actions areas

Children eating

Nourish All People

To support work to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition and reduce the incidence of non-communicable disease.

Man walking on green field in sunset

Boost Nature-Based Solutions of Production

To support work to optimise environmental resource use in food production, processing and distribution – to reduce biodiversity loss, pollution, water use, soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Air photo flooded area

Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks, and Stresses

To support work to ensure the continued functionality of sustainable food systems in areas that are prone to conflict or natural disasters.

Advance Equitable Livelihoods, Decent Work, & Empowered Communities

To support work to eliminate poverty by promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all actors along the food value chain, enabling entrepreneurship and addressing the inequitable access to resources and the distribution of value.

Looking at data on tablet, tomato cultivation

Means of Implementation

To help countries leading up to the UN Food Systems Summit connect to initiatives, and resources around finance, governance, science and knowledge, innovation, technology and data, capacity, and beyond.

The Tetra Laval Group has a strong commitment to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the above-mentioned Action Areas. For instance, Tetra Pak has identified several impact opportunities that can help drive system change and support the UN initiative. These include food innovation for healthier food, school feeding programmes for improved nutrition, minimised food loss and waste through innovative food processing technologies and packaging solutions, and sustainable dairy farming.