A sustainable food system lies at the heart of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted in 2015, the SDGs call for major transformations in agriculture and food systems in order to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030. To realize the SDGs, the global food system needs to be reshaped to be more productive, more inclusive of poor and marginalized populations, environmentally sustainable and resilient, and able to deliver healthy and nutritious diets to all.
The theory of change behind sustainable food system development as presented here derives from the structure-conduct- performance (S-C-P) paradigm. The structure of the food system is dynamic and driven by complex and varied trends such as urbanization, population growth, climate change, and forces such as technological change and innovation, policy change and so on. The structure generates incentives for actors and influences their capacities, which ultimately determine their conduct. Actors in the food system are also interdependent on each other and can impact each other’s incentives and capacities to act.