What is EAT?

Science, politics and business sharing food for thought.

Providing the growing global population a healthy and nutritious diet within safe environmental limits is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. It can only be addressed through an integration of knowledge and action in the interwoven areas of food, health and sustainability.

What is EAT?

The EAT Foundation builds on the work of the EAT Initiative, created by the Stordalen Foundation and Stockholm Resilience Centre in 2013. Together with the Wellcome Trust they launched the EAT Foundation in March 2016 with the ambition to reform the global food system, enabling us to feed a growing global population with healthy food from a healthy planet. The three organisations will use their unique range of experience in health, science, policy and sustainability, to convene experts and decision makers who together can transform the way we eat.

EAT will stimulate interdisciplinary research by fostering collaboration across the multiple scientific disciplines interfacing with food issues, in order to improve nutrition and food safety, as well as tackling global health and environmental challenges such as the epidemics of obesity and non-communicable diseases, climate change and degradation of ecosystems. The scientific content and output of EAT is steered by an Advisory Board, consisting of more than 30 of the world´s leading experts in the fields of food science and policy, nutrition, public health, environmental sustainability, veterinary sciences, and economics. One of the initiative’s long-term foci is to develop an integrated and holistic set of practical guidelines for consumers and the private sector on healthy and sustainable diets, accounting for impacts from field to fork. Furthermore, EAT aims to identify business opportunities and spur innovations along the food value chain that benefit both public health and the environment. Finally, EAT aims to provide policymakers with an evidence base for decision-making, as well as strategy suggestions to change consumer behaviour at the population level.

Each spring EAT host an annual high-level forum, EAT Stockholm Food Forum, bringing together some of the world’s brightest people in the fields of science, politics, business and civil society to shift food systems towards greater sustainability, health, security, and equity within the boundaries of our planet

VISION AND OBJECTIVES

The vision of EAT is a transformation of the global food system to sustainably feed a healthy population of nine billion people by mid-Century.

Fulfilling this vision will require major multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-scale cooperation, as the health and environmental problems associated with food systems are highly interconnected and span across all sectors of society. In order to fulfil the urgent need for an integrated agenda spanning food, health and sustainability, the EAT Initiative was established in 2013 as an international platform for interaction between stakeholders across science, policy, civil society and business. Bringing leadership from formerly siloed sectors and academic fields, EAT is guided by the core working hypothesis that productive food systems, global health, and a sustainable environment are all prerequisites for human development.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a sustainable diet as one that has low environmental impact, contributes to food security and to a healthy life for present and future generations. They highlight the need for diets and food systems that are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy, and optimize natural and human resources. Hence, a holistic perspective on health and environmental aspects of food systems is needed in order to identify synergistic solutions and innovations that promote diets, which enhance both human and planetary health, as well as to highlight potential trade-offs. This requires more interdisciplinary knowledge on the interconnections between food and agriculture, health and nutrition, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic factors.

Food, health and sustainability. Science, politics and business.

Scientific research being at the heart of the EAT Initiative, the centrepiece of its structural architecture is a network of world leading universities and research institutions, with the common objective of advancing knowledge and identifying synergistic solutions within the nexus of food, health and sustainability (Figure 1). In order to catalyse the translation of new knowledge into action and innovation in food systems towards public health, nutritional security and environmental sustainability in the relevant sectors, EAT also collaborates with governmental organisations and enterprises in the food industry, recognizing that governments and private sector actors are key players for translating scientific knowledge and realising the vision of sustainable and healthy food systems.

Focus

Focal areas for spurring research, innovation and action include agricultural and processing methods that minimise health and environmental impacts; new technologies for waste minimisation; improved supply chain efficiencies; effective environmental and health regulation; translation of known evidence-based population nutrition interventions; innovative approaches to shifting consumption patterns including applied behavioural economics; avenues for poverty reduction through improving food systems; and population-level education and social marketing on food, health and sustainability.

EAT-IO-1

 

Examples of input and output focus opportunities for EAT

EAT aims to engage with various stakeholder groups, recognizing that cross-sectoral collaboration is crucial in order to achieve its overall vision of transformative change. A specific set of objectives has been outlined for each sector.