Recap from Food Nation’s Global Food Talk “Healthy food for the future – powered by partnerships”
Food Nation hosted the fourth Global Food Talk of this year on November 3 with opening remarks from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and an inspirational speech from the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn. Let us recap some of the main takeaways from our speakers.
Ensuring accessible, healthy food for all is crucial for a sustainable development. Today’s food system implies a global inequality, with some getting too much high-energy food, while others getting too little food of poor nutritional quality.
Consuming a healthy diet throughout life helps prevent malnutrition as well as chronic disease. However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns, thus highlighting the need for a more sustainable change. Here, the long experience of working with partnership models in Denmark prove useful.
Food Nation’s patron, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik, pointed out in his opening remarks how partnerships together with sharing knowledge and experience are the key drivers for change – a change which is highly needed.
Actions are needed
There is an urgent need for action to secure accessible, healthy food for all, and therefore health has also been chosen as a COP26 science priority area.
“We live in a world where 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. At the same time, an increasing number of people are negatively affected by lifestyle diseases,” said Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn.
In Denmark, it is a national priority to make it easy for the consumer to choose healthier food products and solutions when shopping in the supermarket, Rasmus Prehn stressed. Here, the close collaboration and partnerships across the food value chain has been significant in developing the many partnerships present in the food sector today, as well as sharpened government strategies.
Private engagement and important tools
In a key-note speech, Executive Director at World Food Programme, David M. Beasley, emphasised how cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial in developing innovative solutions that will help feed the growing global population. Here, it is important to bring forward the private sector in both short- and long-term answers as they are part of the solution to mitigate and tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, he said. Positively, David M. Beasley concluded by saying: “Ending hunger by 2030 is doable.”
In the first fireside session on how partnership models support the development and distribution of healthy food, Per Christiansen, Deputy Director General (Innovation) at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, and Charlotte Pedersen, Senior Adviser at GAIN Nordic, guested the studio.
Per Christiansen said that partnerships are a good pathway to find solutions and brought forward the example about the Danish Whole Grain Partnership. One advice from Charlotte Pedersen was to invest time in understanding the common goal with your partners as long-term solution need to be both sustainable for the climate and business, which makes partnerships an important tool.
Achieving the 2030-agenda
In the second fireside session, Pernille Bang-Löwgren, CEO of Lantmännen Schulstad A/S and Erik Wiberg-Lyng, President of Ingredients Platform in the global biotech company International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) and chairman of The Danish Food and Drink Federation, discussed which actions would have the biggest impact in achieving the 2030-agenda.
“Public-private partnerships are very, very effectful and powerful when established,” said Pernille Bang-Löwgren. Moreover, she agreed with previous speaker Charlotte Pedersen, who believed that there is a need to agree on a common ambition.
According to Erik Wiberg-Lyng, the fundamental initiative that we need to take with a growing population in mind is to change the way we produce food and recognise that processed food is part of the solution. However, it needs to be produced in a healthy and sustainable way.
Denmark can provide healthy solutions to the world
Across the globe, Danish food companies are providing safe, healthy food of high quality to a wide range of countries on every continent. Thus, Danish solutions benefit not just Danes but also the growing global population.
The collaborative, sector-wide approach on public health issues has helped Denmark continually stay ahead of the curve, often being the first to set a standard later followed up by the EU, and Danish knowledge and solutions are today making differences in food productions in foreign environments, leading to healthier food production.