Project

Nutritious Food Transformations

Goal: To propose empirical research about market transformations in the food sector

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Jeroen Struben
added 3 research items
Equitable access to and consumption of healthy foods has yet to be achieved in many societies. To better understand the complex market dynamics that make it difficult for healthy food and healthy eating markets to develop at scale across the socioeconomic spectrum, we perform an integrative analysis of the market infrastructure. Using causal loop diagramming, we identify three interconnected feedback processes that prevent the diffusion of equitable healthy food and healthy eating, including: (i) industry capabilities (ii), consumer acceptance, and (iii) institutional supports. Examining intervention scenarios, we demonstrate the ineffectiveness of isolated social-and commercial-oriented actions that promote changes in the food market. Instead, we show that a self-sustaining market for production and consumption of healthy food across social-economic status requires coordinated collective action among producers, consumers, social entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, and other intermediaries. We discuss the implications for other societal challenges that depend on coordinated action among multiple stakeholders.
The food system in developed countries is unsustainable, with industrialized production and consumption practices binding many developed countries into states of overnutrition, of alarming levels of obesity, and of diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases. Yet, despite a proliferation of policies, programs, and investments aimed at their prevention and control by governments, industry, and nongovernmental organizations results have been slow, failure prone, and inequitable. In this paper we develop an integrative analysis of the drivers of transformation towards an equitable healthy food market-producing nutritious food at scale across heterogeneous populations. Using causal loop diagramming we extract from the literature three interconnected feedback processes of market infrastructure formation, involving respectively the development of industry capabilities, consumer acceptance, and systems and institutions. Together these undergird the dynamics of an equitable healthy food market transformation. Formalizing this framework into a computational model at the community level, and simulating distinct scenarios we demonstrate ineffectiveness of social-and commercial-oriented actions that promote changes in the food market when pursued in isolation. Instead, self-sustaining social change requires cross-sectoral convergence between mainstreaming business strategy and market transformation and cross-sector actions. Generalizing our analysis we recognize the limitations conventional corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a mitigation strategy to unanticipated negative externalities of industrial technologies and markets. We argue for convergent innovation (CI), a cross-sectoral approach to mainstream the societal issues through CSR supported by not-for-profit and government actors enacting behavioral change and ecosystem transformation at scale.
The last decades have seen the emergence of cross-sectoral social partnerships (CSSPs) formed to accelerate responses to the threats confronting environmental and human health. With both threats and solutions being woven in a complex and dynamic way into the core fabric of modern society, CSSPs have risen in a somewhat ad hoc fashion with the threats they aim to alleviate. They now abound within and across levels, from local to global, many of a temporary nature, some bearing critical bridge functions. Building upon the literatures of adhocracy and social movements, this paper articulates a collective action model for multi-level convergence. Using an inductive case study approach, we examine a 10-year effort deployed on healthy living in the province of Quebec (Canada). We observed CSSPs at provincial and local levels, with a special focus on QuebecEnForme (QEF), formed with challenging bridging roles between top down and bottom up institutions and activities.
Jeroen Struben
added a project goal
To propose empirical research about market transformations in the food sector
 
Jeroen Struben
added 2 research items
This paper introduces convergent innovation (CI) as a form of meta-innovation-an innovation in the way we innovate. CI integrates human and economic development outcomes, through behavioral and ecosystem transformation at scale, for sustainable prosperity and affordable universal health care within a whole-of-society paradigm. To this end, CI combines technological and social innovation (including organizational, social process, financial, and institutional), with a special focus on the most underserved populations. CI takes a modular approach that convenes around roadmaps for real world change-a portfolio of loosely coupled complementary partners from the business community, civil society, and the public sector. Roadmaps serve as collaborative platforms for focused, achievable, and time-bound projects to provide scalable, sustainable, and resilient solutions to complex challenges, with benefits both to participating partners and to society. In this paper, we first briefly review the literature on technological innovation that sets the foundations of CI and motivates its feasibility. We then describe CI, its building blocks, and enabling conditions for deployment and scaling up, illustrating its operational forms through examples of existing CI-sensitive innovation.