Latest Research on nutrition security : Mar 2022

Food and Nutrition Security Indicators: A Review

In this paper, we review existing food and nutrition security indicators, discuss some of their advantages and disadvantages, and finally classify them and describe their relationships and overlaps. In order to achieve this, the paper makes reference to the existing definitions of food and nutrition security (FNS), in particular as they have been agreed upon and implemented in the FoodSecure project ( The main existing conceptual frameworks of FNS predating the present paper are also used as guidelines and briefly discussed. Finally, we make recommendations in terms of the most appropriate FNS indicators to quantify the impacts of various shocks and interventions on food and nutrition security outcomes.[1]

Role of food processing in food and nutrition security


Food and nutrition security, a major global challenge, relies on the adequate supply of safe, affordable and nutritious fresh and processed foods to all people. The challenge of supplying healthy diets to 9 billion people in 2050 will in part be met through increase in food production. However, reducing food losses throughout the supply chain from production to consumption and sustainable enhancements in preservation, nutrient content, safety and shelf life of foods, enabled by food processing will also be essential.

Scope and approach

This review describes developments in primary food production systems and the role of food processing on population health and food and nutrition security. It emphasises the need to monitor the attitudes and values of consumers in order to better understand factors that may lead to negative perceptions about food processing.

Key findings and conclusions For a resource constrained world, it is essential to have a balanced approach to both energy and nutrient content of foods. Environmental sustainability is critical and both the agrifood production and the food processing sectors will be challenged to use less resources to produce greater quantities of existing foods and develop innovative new foods that are nutritionally appropriate for the promotion of health and well-being, have long shelf lives and are conveniently transportable. Healthy diets which meet consumer expectations produced from resilient and sustainable agrifood systems need to be delivered in a changing world with diminishing natural resources. An integrated multi-sectoral approach across the whole food supply chain is required to address global food and nutrition insecurity.[2]

Conceptual framework for the analysis of the determinants of food and nutrition security

This report presents a first step of the conceptual framework which will be used in the FoodSecure project to analyse the determinants of food and nutrition security. It draws on previous research and insights to develop a broad conceptual framework. The framework addresses drivers and determinants of food and nutrition security at multiple levels of aggregation. At the individual and household level, we make a distinction between drivers that affect the food and nutrition status, and drivers that affect the stability of this status. As gender is relevant in all dimensions of food and nutrition security at this level, we discuss it as a cross-cutting determinant. At the national and international level, food prices play a major role in food and nutrition security. We therefore discuss the drivers of food supply and demand, both in the short and long run. Finally, the framework describes the channels through which both micro- and macro-level policies are related to food and nutrition security.[3]

Developments in National Policies for Food and Nutrition Security in Brazil

Brazil is on track to achieve many of the Millennium Development Goals, and this is widely credited to bold and innovative government policies backed by new forms of popular participation in social policy. This article examines evaluation evidence on two of the most important recent initiatives in Brazil’s policies for food and nutrition security (conditional cash transfers through Bolsa Família and support for family agriculture through the Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos). It also considers advances in older policies (such as the School Meals programme) and the work of the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security, which has culminated in national legislation establishing food and nutrition security as a right.[4]

Nutrition security is an integral component of food security

This review argues that nutrition is an integral component of food security, and should be embedded within all four of its dimensions – availability, access, utilization, and stability. The review highlights current food insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as exacerbated by the triple burden of malnutrition, where undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight/obesity coexist. Previous efforts to address food security in MENA have focused on food availability, overlooking the other three dimensions and leaving nutrition considerations aside. Meanwhile, the literature has recognized the need to highlight nutrition as fundamental, and opted for the term ‘food and nutrition security’. To achieve food and nutrition security in MENA, a nutrition lens must be applied across all four dimensions – from assessment, to policy and programming, to capacity building. For example, MENA countries can adopt policies and programs including well-structured food subsidies, dietary guidelines, public awareness, and education campaigns to increase availability and accessibility of nutritious and safe foods, and stimulate consumer demand for those. To accomplish this, MENA needs to build stakeholders’ capacity and equip them to address the challenges that are hindering the achievement of food and nutrition security now and into the future.[5]


[1] Pangaribowo, E.H., Gerber, N. and Torero, M., 2013. Food and nutrition security indicators: a review.

[2] Augustin, M.A., Riley, M., Stockmann, R., Bennett, L., Kahl, A., Lockett, T., Osmond, M., Sanguansri, P., Stonehouse, W., Zajac, I. and Cobiac, L., 2016. Role of food processing in food and nutrition security. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 56, pp.115-125.

[3] Pieters, H., Guariso, A. and Vandeplas, A., 2013. Conceptual framework for the analysis of the determinants of food and nutrition security (No. 2201-2019-1442).

[4] Rocha, C., 2009. Developments in national policies for food and nutrition security in Brazil. Development Policy Review, 27(1), pp.51-66.

[5] Hwalla, N., El Labban, S. and Bahn, R.A., 2016. Nutrition security is an integral component of food security. Frontiers in life science, 9(3), pp.167-172.

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