Understanding the Global Food System

  • Francesca Allievi
  • Marta AntonelliEmail author
  • Katarzyna DembskaEmail author
  • Ludovica Principato


Current food systems are in need of profound changes. The number of hungry people recently rose to over 820 million due to climate-related conflicts and displacement. Two billion people in the world are overweight or obese and are at risk of the diseases related to over-consumption of food, an issue that affects both the developed and developing world. The food sector operates—and depends on—a natural environment profoundly under stress and faces increasing competition for its resources between different sectors. Food is the largest freshwater user, accounts for one third of GhG emissions and is responsible for land degradation, biodiversity loss and pollution. Sustainable food systems are at the core of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations, signed by 193 countries in 2015, as food is directly or indirectly connected to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Against this context, the present chapter outlines the main challenges that the global food system currently faces in terms of nutrition challenges, environmental impacts and food loss and waste, with each of these dimensions put into relation with the relevant SDGs, underlining the importance of sustainable food systems for implementing the 2030 Agenda.


Sustainability Food systems SDGs 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN)ParmaItaly
  2. 2.JAMK—University of Applied ScienceJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC)LecceItaly
  4. 4.Department of Business StudiesRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly

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