State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020
Since 2014 the prevalence of undernourishment is increasing due to conflict, climate-shocks and economic slowdowns, with 8.9% of the world population being undernourished in 2019. Concerning global nutrition targets, they are not likely to be met in 2030.
The critical link between food security and nutrition outcomes is food consumption and diet quality. Data on food availability show large discrepancies in the per capita availability of foods from different food groups across different country income groups. Diet quality worsens with increasing severity of food insecurity. The ways moderately food insecure people modify their diets vary according to income level of the country.
New analysis determines that the cost of the diet increases incrementally as diet quality increases: the cost of a healthy diet is 60 percent higher than of the nutrient adequate diet, and almost 5 times of the energy sufficient diet. The hidden costs for health and environment translate into actual costs for individuals and society. The health impacts associated with poor diet quality are significant, and the food system is responsible for 21-37% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve dietary patterns for healthy, sustainable diets, large transformative changes in food systems are needed, thereby considering the impact on livelihoods. Many factors determine the consumer price of nutritious food: low productivity and insufficient diversification of food production, pre- and post-harvest losses, quality and efficiency of road and transportation networks, distance to food marketplaces, time required to prepare a healthy meal, food and agricultural policies, trade policies, and globalization. Countries must implement critical policy and investment changes to transform food systems to ensure everybody can afford healthy, sustainable diets. The importance of nutrition-sensitive social protection policies is particularly highlighted. Conditions more explicitly tailored to influence consumer behaviour towards healthy diets must also be met.