Yara Studio: Problem Statement 2

Re-capturing lost value in the food system 

Looking at new business models that can help support and accelerate circular use of nutrients in the food system, potentially both in upstream and downstream.

Our food system is at a tipping point: on the one hand we have over 800 million people who are food-insecure and on the other hand, more than two billion people are overweight or obese. Food, and all the nutrients it contains, is being wasted across the spectrum. An estimated 1.6 billion tons of food, worth $1.2 trillion and approximating one-third of the food we produce, is wasted. This represents the linear nature of the conventional food system – once food is produced, it is either consumed or wasted – there is nothing in between. As our population grows, and in turn, the demand for food, we must shift away from this conventional way of thinking.

By finding new methods of reintroducing the nutrients from food waste back into the food system, we can ensure that we minimise the impact of the value lost. By ensuring that the downstream food value chain takes only what it needs, more nutritious food and better livelihoods will be provided for those who need it most – often the smallholder farmers who produce it. Creating viable business models that incentivise stakeholders to produce and consume food more responsibly and minimise nutrient loss could have a drastic impact on net food production.

The challenge: How can we create the necessary infrastructure, incentives, and business models to accelerate the adoption of circular principles across the entire food system?