Food systems

Making Better Policies for Food Systems

The term “food systems” refers to all the elements and activities related to producing and consuming food, and their effects, including economic, health, and environmental outcomes. 

Around the world, food systems are facing a triple challenge: ensuring food security and nutrition for a growing population, supporting the livelihoods of millions of farmers and others in the food chain, and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way.

COVID-19 has also imposed unprecedented stresses on food systems and interdisciplinary OECD research on the impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the need to strengthen their resilience as part of a green, sustainable and inclusive recovery.

Food systems are currently a long way off from meeting those challenges. For this reason, the United Nations convened a Food Systems Summit in 2021.

Better policies are urgently needed.





Data Spotlight

The heavy burden of obesity
The majority of the population, and one in five children, are overweight or obese in the OECD area.

Overweight reduces life expectancy, increases healthcare costs, decreases workers' productivity and lowers GDP. Policies to promote healthier lifestyles and tackle this growing public health problem are therefore also a good investment in economic terms.