Catalysing a just transition to better diets
Increasing the proportion of plant-based food people eat is one of the crucial steps towards more sustainable, healthy diets, and there is huge excitement, investment and momentum around plant-based innovation in Europe and the US. However, that innovation is not necessarily well-aligned with ensuring that nutritious, sustainable food is widely affordable, accessible and desirable to a wide range of people and communities. As it stands, plant-based innovation is not delivering sustainable nutrition for all.
What if we could harness the energy around plant-based innovation to help catalyse the transformations in the food system that are urgently needed? What kinds of innovation, in the widest sense, do we need to deliver a healthier, more sustainable and, crucially, more equitable food system, from new approaches to innovation and new business models, to cultural and mindset shifts? How might plant-based innovation help drive that ‘just transition’ of diets in Europe and the US?
This Action Sprint [live June – August 2021] is the first of a series hosted by the Great Protein Transformation Challenge, each of which explores a key question around the role of protein (from sustainable livestock to new alternative proteins) in contributing to food system transformation.
Over the course of six weeks, working with a cohort of participants from diverse food-related backgrounds, we set out to explore more equitable access to plant-based food, and the role of innovation in supporting a just transition to better diets.
Recognising that we are all suffering from ‘collaboration fatigue’, we were experimenting with an innovative, time-bound and experimental process, and it produced a great collection of actionable (and powerful) insights capturing the knowledge of a wide range of food system actors (see the highlights here!).
With the participants we delved deeper into different perspectives on the challenge, and developed shared visions and solution areas whilst identifying potential pathways for action. Most significantly, by bringing together a range of actors, from community-focused organisations to corporates, we hoped to build trusted relationships between participants. The process itself was fairly intense, consisting of two workshops two weeks apart, a homework task in between, various 1-2-1 interviews and ongoing distilling of emerging insights by Forum, throughout.
We are grateful to the following organisations for joining the Action Sprint and bringing such a wide range of different perspectives, expertise and experiences to the process:
- Ahold Delhaize
- Albert Heijn
- Chefs Manifesto
- Compass Group
- Eat Club
- EIT Food
- Food Foundation
- Good Food Institute (GFI)
- Gold and Green
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
- Illinois Agri-Food Alliance
- Institut Paul Bocuse
- Made in Hackney
- Might be Vegan / Food Love
- National Black Food and Justice Alliance
- Nomad Foods
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
- Stanford University
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
What inspiring examples are you seeing of plant based innovation contributing to equitable access to healthy and sustainable diets? Please share in comments. You can also add signals of change by clicking on the Submit a signal button.