The Food Systems Dashboard is a new tool to inform better food policy.

The Food Systems Dashboard brings together extant data from public and private sources to help decision makers understand their food systems, identify their levers of change and decide which ones need to be pulled.
Fanzo, J., Haddad, L., McLaren, R., Marshall, Q., Davis, C., Herforth, A., ... & Kapuria, A. (2020). The Food Systems Dashboard is a new tool to inform better food policy. Nature Food, 1(5), 243-246.

You Say You Want a Data Revolution? Taking on Food Systems Accountability

Dramatic improvements in data availability and quality are needed to meet the challenge of monitoring and analyzing food systems, so that appropriate policies and actions to improve human and planetary health can be identified and data-informed accountability mechanisms put in place to strengthen food systems governance. Studying food systems is complex due to diverse actors and interlinking processes that operate on multiple spatial and temporal scales, and their multiple outcomes, which may be subject to hidden feedback mechanisms and tradeoffs. However, descriptive research to characterize food system components and make comparisons across geography, income groups, and population groups is an important foundation. The first part of this article details a series of critical data gaps and limitations that are currently hindering food systems learning and accountability, also comparing these gaps across regions and income groups. The second part of the article introduces the Food Systems Dashboard, a new data visualization tool that aims to improve access to and usage of food systems-related data, thus strengthening the data value chain and better informing policies and actions intended to improve diets, nutrition, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.
Marshall, Q., Bellows, A.L., McLaren, R., Jones, A.D. and Fanzo, J., 2021. You say you want a data revolution? Taking on food systems accountability. Agriculture, 11(5), p.422.

Building a Global Food Systems Typology: A New Tool for Reducing Complexity in Food Systems Analysis

Food systems have a profound impact on diets, nutrition, health, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Yet their complexity poses a persistent challenge in identifying the policy actions that are needed to improve human and planetary health outcomes. Typologies are a useful classification tool to identify similarities and differences among food systems, while reducing this analytical complexity. This study presents a new food system typology, implemented at the country level using parsimonious data that characterize food supply chains, food environments, consumer-related factors, and key outcomes, including dietary intake, nutritional status, health, and environmental impacts. Five food system types are identified: rural and traditional; informal and expanding; emerging and diversifying; modernizing and formalizing; and industrial and consolidated. Patterns across the five system types in key outcome variables align with narratives provided by the food systems and nutrition transition literature, demonstrating the usefulness of this classification method. Substantial heterogeneity nonetheless still exists within individual food system types. Therefore, the recommended use of the typology is in early stages of hypothesis generation, to identify potential risk factors or constraints in the food system that can be explored further at national and sub-national levels.
Marshall Q, Fanzo J, Barrett CB, Jones AD, Herforth A and McLaren R., 2021. Building a Global Food Systems Typology: A New Tool for Reducing Complexity in Food Systems Analysis. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 5:746512.

Diagnosing the performance of food systems to increase accountability toward healthy diets and environmental sustainability

To reorient food systems to ensure they deliver healthy diets that protect against multiple forms of malnutrition and diet-related disease and safeguard the environment, ecosystems, and natural resources, there is a need for better governance and accountability. However, decision-makers are often in the dark on how to navigate their food systems to achieve these multiple outcomes. Even where there is sufficient data to describe various elements, drivers, and outcomes of food systems, there is a lack of tools to assess how food systems are performing. This paper presents a diagnostic methodology for 39 indicators representing food supply, food environments, nutrition outcomes, and environmental outcomes that offer cutoffs to assess performance of national food systems. For each indicator, thresholds are presented for unlikely, potential, or likely challenge areas. This information can be used to generate actions and decisions on where and how to intervene in food systems to improve human and planetary health. A global assessment and two country case studies—Greece and Tanzania—illustrate how the diagnostics could spur decision options available to countries.
Herforth A, Bellows AL, Marshall Q, McLaren R, Beal T, Nordhagen S, et al., 2022. Diagnosing the performance of food systems to increase accountability toward healthy diets and environmental sustainability. PLoS ONE 17(7).

Policy Briefs

Hawkes, C., Walton, S., Haddad, L., Fanzo, J. 2020. 42 policies and actions to orient food systems towards healthier diets for all. London: Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London.


GAIN Interview Cruncher: "42 actions to fix the food systems"

Thursday, 14 January 2021
Food systems offer ample opportunities to help make healthy diets available, affordable and appealing. Policymakers need an answer to the question: What do I need to change about our food system to improve diets and nutrition? This webinar will discuss how more than 200 recommendations from 12 reports led to a list of 42 food systems actions that policy makers can choose from to create a more nutritious food system.
Reporter Shiulie Ghosh will moderate the conversation about the 42 food systems actions, opportunities and next steps of re-orienting food systems towards healthier diets with:
  • Corinna Hawkes, Director, Centre of Food Policy at City, University of London
  • Adeyinka Onabolu, Senior Advisor on Food Security & Nutrition, Nigeria
  • Cherrie Atilano, Founding Farmer, CEO and President of AGREA International, Philippines
  • Maximo Torero, Chief Economist and Assistant Director-General, ES, FAO
  • Pawan Agarwal, IAS, Special Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India
GAIN Interview Cruncher - Food Systems Dashboard: A Year On
Date: Wednesday, 2 June 2021
Almost a year ago, the Food Systems Dashboard, the first dashboard that collects country-level data across all components of the food system, was launched. Today, the Dashboard contains over 200 indicators that measure components, drivers, and outcomes of food systems at the country level.
With the UN Food Systems Summit and the 2030's SDGs rapidly approaching, it is essential for policymakers to gain in-depth insights into the challenges and opportunities facing countries and their food systems. The Dashboard is the global repository of easily accessible and visualizable cross-discipline data allowing users to gain the insights they need.
During this Interview Cruncher we will take a closer look to the Dashboard, the Countdown Report, their relevance for the UN Food Systems Summit, the new environment indicators, and Member States takes from Germany and Guatemala, while discussing on the way forward and new plans to ensure countries can gain better ownership of the presented data. Speakers include:
  • Kate Schneider, Senior Research Data Analyst, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
  • Ty Beal, Research Advisor, Knowledge Leadership, GAIN
  • Roseline Remans, Senior Scientist, Multifunctional landscapes, The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
  • Olutayo Adeyemi, Independent Nutrition Consultant, Nigeria
  • Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, GAIN