As an expert in the field of food systems, I have seen firsthand the importance of creating a healthy and sustainable food system. It is not just about producing food, but also about considering the entire process from production to waste disposal. This means taking into account the characteristics that promote health, sustainability, resilience, diversity, justice, economic balance, and transparency. In today's world, where food insecurity and malnutrition are prevalent, it is crucial to have clear guidance on how to design food systems that can provide healthier diets for everyone. This is especially important in low- and middle-income countries where access to nutritious food is often limited. The principle of “evidence-based nutritional innovation” is a key component in creating a healthy and sustainable food system.
By combining evidence-based innovations with implementation science, we can strengthen food system innovations and ultimately promote healthier diets. One of the challenges in designing a healthy and sustainable food system is the constantly changing landscape of nutritional and public health issues. To address these challenges, it is essential to first understand the relationship between the food system, nutrition, and innovation. Our goal as experts is to define principles for implementing long-term, evidence-based innovations in food systems that are not only economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable but also aim to improve diets and public health. These principles serve as a guide for food system actors to design sustainable and evidence-based food systems that can address all types of malnutrition. One of the key principles of a healthy and sustainable food system is ensuring that nutritious food is affordable and available to those who need it most. This means considering the needs of the most vulnerable populations when designing food systems.
It also involves consulting with local and regional food system experts to gain a global perspective and incorporate diverse viewpoints. Food system transformations are urgently needed to provide consumers with more affordable and nutritious diets that can also address social and environmental challenges. The principles of SEMICA (Sustainable, Evidence-based, Multisectoral, Innovative, Collaborative, and Accountable) serve as a guide for food system actors in designing a sustainable and evidence-based food system for healthier diets. Innovations in food systems (FSI) are often proposed as a solution to address the challenges of malnutrition and food insecurity. However, there is currently no framework for implementers to design these innovations in a way that can achieve healthier diets. As experts, we have identified the main barriers to implementing these innovations and have developed the SEMICA principles to help overcome them.