Food systems innovation: the real food
Michaela Cosijn• Food Systems Innovation
18 August 2015
Food systems are experiencing change
• Food production systems need to adapt to climate change and environmental
• Globalization of food systems driven by regional and international trade
• Changing dietary patterns and demands associated with rising incomes (in
emerging economies,) urbanization, lifestyles and demographic changes leading
to double burden and changes in demands for food quality
• Vertical integration of food value chains, often with power dynamics skewed in
favour of large corporates
• The increasing multi-functionality of agriculture and food systems
Multi-functional agriculture and food systems
• Demands arising from global population growth
outstripping increases in agricultural productivity
• Demands for ethical (human and animal) standards in
• Demands for inclusive (shared value) business models
in food value chains.
• Demands for environmentally sustainable food
• Competition between food and energy uses of
• Food related health concerns (over and under
nutrition, food safety)
• Demands for the reduction of food waste and losses
Food crisis or innovation crisis?
• Historically national and global food systems have innovated and changed in
response to the changing needs of society.
• Current demands for food systems changes often articulated as a food crisis: “a
broken food system”
• In reality it is an innovation crisis: can we innovate quickly enough to reduce the
social and economic pain of transition from the food systems that served us
well in the 20th century to the food systems needed for the 21st century and
What is food systems innovation?
• Food systems innovation encompasses both technological change dimensions and
institutional and policy change dimensions.
• Technological changes include:
• improved production technology to deal with climate change and environmental constraints;
• new post-harvest and process technology; and
• sustainable pest management approaches.
• Institutional and policy changes include:
• new modes of business and trade practice;
• mechanisms to better articulate consumer and farmer needs;
• new patterns of partnership between public and private sectors and between agriculture, food, health
and environmental stakeholders; and
• policy coherence, regulation standards and norms
• The rate limiting factors in innovation are rarely at the technological frontier, but
usually in the institutional and policy environment that enables the use of new
technologies and other information and ideas.
AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION SYSTEMS: AN INVESTMENT SOURCEBOOK
What triggers food systems innovation?
• Historically public policy instruments have included: regulation, research and
education, but often with little coherence between different policy domains
• The market in the developed world has been a key driver in adapting food
systems to changing consumer demands and concerns
+ Plus strong civil society (food movements etc),
+ Long term perspectives and investment by the public sector in education, health
and in appropriate sets of regulations and incentives
• All routes are necessary, but none are sufficient.
How could food systems innovation be
• Obviously research , but there are other preconditions needed to make this
• Research will only be useful if it is embedded in and framed by a constructive
dialogue between public and private sectors and civil society.
• This is needed to:
• set short and long term priorities,
• identify critical partnerships,
• co-develop appropriate institutional and policy regimes,
• identify practical operational schemes and intervention that can be implemented collectively.
• This meeting is part of the way forward: It’s about starting to build a constructive
dialogue across the food, value chains and health domains.
• However there is much work and capacity building needed to create the
necessary conditions to develop a stakeholder platform that can agree on
priorities and start to actively address them.
• This is challenging enough in the domestic context of Australia.
• However more challenging is that Australia’s food system is intimately connected
to regional and global food systems.
• Understanding how Australian domestic food systems stakeholders can effectively
engage in dialogue and innovation with their regional counterparts is thus critical
in charting a path forward.
• We are no longer in an era where stakeholders or countries can go it alone.
Challenges and where to go from here?
Black Mountain, Action ACT 2601 Australia
• ADD BUSINESS UNIT/FLAGSHIP NAME