On a global scale, food systems are facing multiple challenges. The way food is produced, processed, packaged, distributed and consumed hinders food security and harms the planet. Climate-related challenges such as scarcity, soil erosion and drought are leading to reduced food production, and supply chains are experiencing disruptions caused by COVID-19.
At the same time, many countries are experiencing the double burden of malnutrition, where undernutrition coexists with being overweight, obesity and other diet-related diseases. Add to this the projected population growth, where it is expected we will reach 9.7 billion6 people by 2050, and the demand for safe, nutritious food escalates.
Despite the challenges with food accessibility, one-third of the food produced is lost or wasted4. Food loss mainly occurs during production or because food is discarded and never gets packaged, whereas food waste can be driven by short shelf life experienced by retailers and unsustainable consumption practices of consumers.
Food loss and waste are particularly harmful considering that food systems account for over one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions produced by the processes involved in food systems are increasing rapidly, especially in some developing countries5.
As food travels through the supply chain towards its destination, it can also be deterred by the lack of infrastructure in many countries. The lack of ability to get food safely and securely from farms to people’s homes is a driver of hunger in some developing countries. Accessible food processing and packaging solutions can play a role in ensuring that safe and nutritious food is made available in remote areas.
To address global food challenges, we need to look at entire food systems and work towards making them more secure and more sustainable: The UN says that food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food; and sustainable food systems mean growing, producing, processing, packaging, distributing and consuming food without exhausting the earth’s resources or negatively impacting the planet7.
At Tetra Pak, we want to play our part in moving the world’s food systems forward. With the right expertise, technology and partnerships, we believe we can make a real difference. That is why we continue to commit to making food safe and available everywhere. And we promise to do that in a way that protects what’s good: protecting food, people and the planet.
1The 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 (OECD, https://www.oecd.org/food-systems, 2023).
8By positive impact we mean driving better outcome for our own workforce, workers and communities in our supply chain, workers in collection and recycling and people in our value chain affected by climate change and the transition to net-zero in the areas of labour, discrimination, hazardous working conditions and sustainable income, among others