Future of the food system

A global movement of proposals for guidelines and actions for the transformation of the food system has grown, involving its different stakeholders, in order to ensure that it is able to supply current and future generations with nutritious, healthy and sustainable food. Many of these proposals emanate from a consensus view among stakeholders, however, some still generate controversy due to their contestable assumptions from the point of view of food science and technology, such as criticism of the quality and safety of processed foods. This situation generates the need to establish a communication channel with society to reveal the set of transformative actions that the industry has carried out, which demonstrate the strategic role that the productive sector plays for the future of the food system. This is the objective of the Food Industry 2030 website, which consolidates various actions by companies and allows for their critical analysis of the results achieved, as well as knowing the best practices to increase the nutritional value and safety of their products, promoting the sustainability of production methods. and social responsibility. These three blocks of actions comprise most of the material topics considered as priorities in the proposals of the various stakeholders committed to changes in the food system. The need to promote dialogue on proposals for change in the food system The analysis of several studies on the future of the food system shows that there is a strong consensus on the need to promote more nutritious, healthy and sustainable diets, both in terms of food supply and consumer choices. However, there is an urgent need to establish a broad dialogue regarding the controversial actions that have been proposed, notably with regard to interventions in the food industry through public policies aimed at inhibiting the production and commercialization of processed foods. For many years, the industry has promoted the reformulation of products, aiming to meet the demand for more nutritious, less caloric foods and considered healthier by consumers, which is evident in the information contained in the Nutritional Value and Product Safety block. The food ingredients industry has developed important technological solutions in this direction. Companies have carried out actions for the nutritional education of consumers, in order to stimulate the demand for foods that make up more balanced and sustainable diets. With regard to production modes, the companies’ sustainability reports show various actions to reduce the carbon footprint, increase efficiency in water use, use energy from renewable sources, reduce losses and waste, recycling of packaging and use of sustainably produced ingredients. Furthermore, social responsibility actions demonstrate that policies on quality of life at work, transparency and ethics in the means of communication between companies and society have evolved, as well as various forms of support for the communities in which they operate. Even so, several proposals have considered the industry as a foreign and harmful agent of the food system, assuming that, in the future, the population should be supplied with in natura food, coming from small producers, whose products would be marketed in short supply chains, through purchasing centers and without the intermediation of supermarkets. On the Food Processed website, Ital combats several myths related to processed foods, with data that prove their importance to society and that, notably, show the inadequacy of the classification of several categories of products as being “ultra-processed”. In addition to the website, the Industrialized Food study and the Industrialized Food series publications on specific product categories have demonstrated the mistake of treating hundreds of different products as having a single composition that is poor in nutrients and high in sugars, saturated fats and sodium, since this is not the case in processed foods present on supermarket shelves, which have different compositions, many being, on the one hand, sources of protein, fiber and other nutrients, and/or with reduced or exempt levels. of sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Considering that the promotion of a healthier and more sustainable food system is of common interest, the antagonism that has been fostered between the industry and some of its stakeholders becomes unproductive. Proactively, it is evident that it is important to discuss ways to increase the intensity, speed and positive impacts of company actions, but not to defend policies that promote diets free from processed foods. Several studies indicate the


Exemplos de propostas de mudanças no sistema alimentar, nas quais há consenso entre indústria e stakeholders

Exemplos de propostas controversas para intervenção sobre sobre a produção e comercialização de alimentos industrializados

  • ampliar oferta e demanda de produtos mais ricos em nutrientes

  • ampliar oferta e demanda de produtos à base de vegetais

  • ampliar oferta e demanda de produtos com teores reduzidos de açúcares, gorduras saturadas, calorias e sódio

  • ampliar oferta e demanda de produtos de menor impacto ambiental, uso menos intensivo de água, energia e terra, com melhor aproveitamento e preservação da biodiversidade

  • usar experiência em comunicação de marketing para promover hábitos mais saudáveis junto aos consumidores

  • integrar a sustentabilidade nos esforços de pesquisa, desenvolvimento e inovação das empresas

  • promover a utilização de sistemas de segurança dos alimentos

  • promover a sustentabilidade de todas as cadeias produtivas de alimentos

  • promover modos de produção sustentáveis nas micro e pequenas empresas

  • promover a economia circular

  • reduzir perdas e desperdícios na produção e consumo de alimentos

  • reformulação compulsória de produtos, tendo como premissa a ineficácia da reformulação voluntária que tem sido feita pelas empresas

  • normas sobre níveis mínimos de nutrientes em produtos

  • restrição da produção de determinados produtos considerados não saudáveis

  • restrição de propaganda, publicidade e promoção de vendas, inclusive online, de alimentos considerados nutricionalmente pobres, tendo como premissa a ineficácia da auto-regulação das empresas

  • restrição da comercialização de alimentos considerados “ultraprocessados”

  • guias alimentares e campanhas educacionais para desencorajar o consumo de alimentos considerados “ultraprocessados”

  • utilização de políticas fiscais e subsídios para mudar os preços relativos de alimentos básicos ricos em nutrientes e dos alimentos considerados “ultraprocessados”

  • restrição do consumo de produtos à base de proteína animal