Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2021

World Food Day

What can the private sectors do ?

Private companies need to be socially responsible and support public health goals. From following national food legislations, priorities and guidelines to transforming operations and approaches. Private companies can help to produce or promote nutritious and safe foods at an affordable price for all, contributing to sustainable healthy diets. Here is a list of actions that different sectors can adopt.

Sustainable sourcing means that companies are mindful of their impact on the planet’s natural resources. They need to embrace transparency every step of the way by being socially responsible environmental leaders. Food manufacturers can collaborate with farmers to reduce the environmental impact of food systems. They should favour food products or ingredients that are sustainably produced using innovative , climate smart methods.

Restaurants and online food outlets need to highlight nutritious and sustainably produced foods on menus. Food manufacturers and the catering industry can also improve food safety and quality along the food supply chain. They should consider the impact of chemical inputs used to ensure high productivity or prevent disease on human and environmental health at every turn.

Malnutrition is not simply a lack of food, it is a lack of nutritious, diverse food that can lead to hunger, obesity, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals and more. The catering industry and food manufacturers need to limit levels of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and salt in food products. This means reformulating products, where necessary, and ensuring that a variety of nutritious foods are available at an affordable price to benefit everyone.

Food companies need to be transparent and make product and nutrition information clear to customers. How? By providing front-of-package labeling schemes, promoting healthy food choices and marketing products in an honest way. Media awareness campaigns on TV, radio, billboards, magazines and digital media should focus on nutritious and sustainably produced foods, highlighting the benefits of healthy diets for all.

Companies need to use packaging that increases food safety and a longer shelf life, while respecting the environment. Food packaging should not be excessive and should be produced using biodegradable or recyclable materials. Scientists are even discovering ways of using foods like corn to produce robust packaging. Responsible packaging helps to limit the huge amount of waste added to landfills worldwide on a daily basis.

The hotel, catering and hospitality sector has a big role to play in reducing food loss and waste. They can change how they manage food from sourcing to production, leftovers and waste. Donating healthy and nutritious food surplus to charities and food banks, for example, is a win-win situation. Other sustainable options include using leftovers or non-edible food waste for animal feed or turning food waste into energy.

Women and youth are often underpaid and excluded from decision making, yet they are key global players in agriculture and food security. Agri-food systems need to and protect women, youth and other economically marginalized communities and provide secure livelihoods. This requires better access to finance, information, training and social protection. Companies can help close the digital gap by sharing innovative technologies with all types of smallholder farmers. Knowledge can improve the food supply chain increasing resilience, reducing food and nutrient loss, and food waste.

Work with FAO and other global businesses to build a future where everyone has access to a sustainable healthy diet. Support efforts by governments to implement the VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES ON FOOD SYSTEMS AND NUTRITION offered by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This is the most inclusive international platform for coordinated action hosted and co-funded by FAO. It allows stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all.