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Volume 3 Issue 9, September 2022

Nutrient accounting from farm to fork

An exercise of accounting the flow of nutrients from farm to fork has been undertaken to assess the adequacy of the supply of nutrients to the world population. Thirty-six bioactive components in all farm commodities recorded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations were traced from production through trade, processing, cooking, loss and waste — and accounting for bioavailability and age–sex distributions of requirements — to supply the nutrient needs of populations for 173 countries over almost 60 years.

Nutrient Balance Sheets add to our understanding of food security. Mechanisms to close the nutrient gaps between supply and requirements within populations are given greater granularity by the Nutrient Balance Sheets, identifying where supply can be enhanced by food production, trade, fortification, supplementation or other policy approaches.

See Lividini and Masters and Joy and Kumssa

Image: dennis campbell / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Tulsi Voralia

Comment & Opinion

  • The practice by which international actors consider and engage with negotiations that influence the food system — food systems diplomacy — has the potential to reframe the global food governance narrative to balance the health, social, environmental and economic domains of food systems.

    • Divya Himangi Garg
    • Marie L. Spiker
    • Jennifer J. Otten


  • The dietary and health impacts of ultra-processed foods can be understood across the nutri-biochemical, food and dietary pattern levels. Each level reveals distinct dimensions and characteristics that can inform our scientific analysis and policy responses accordingly.

    • Gyorgy Scrinis
    • Carlos Monteiro
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Working across agriculture–nutrition domains, nutrition balance sheets provide farm-to-fork estimates of the availability of dietary nutrients for human consumption.

    • Edward J. M. Joy
    • Diriba B. Kumssa
    News & Views
  • Food systems change across space and time. Lessons to steer food systems towards sustainability can be drawn from studying the drivers and implications of these changes through a systems-based food system classification (typology).

    • Robel Alemu
    News & Views
  • Farm animals in circular food systems upcycle non-competing feedstuff and therefore reduce feed–food competition. This can increase global food supply while reducing pressure on the Earth’s system.

    • Hannah H. E. van Zanten
    News & Views
  • A precision compost strategy (PCS) has been proposed to improve soil fertility and achieve higher yields. For wider adoption of the PCS, costs and environmental trade-offs need to be considered, knowledge dissemination enhanced, and financial incentives implemented.

    • Shu Kee Lam
    • Longlong Xia
    • Deli Chen
    News & Views
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Research Briefings

  • Understanding the relationship between the production of farmed Atlantic salmon and the use of marine resources is imperative for planning the future growth of this industry and the sustainable management of these marine resources. This study demonstrates that the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry can grow without the input of additional marine resources.

    Research Briefing
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  • This Perspective proposes a strategy for making Chinese food systems more sustainable, taking into account the interlinkages between agricultural production and food consumption across the supply chain and going beyond agriculture-focused perspectives.

    • Xiaoxi Wang
    • Benjamin Leon Bodirsky
    • Changzheng Yuan
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