Knowledge for better food systems

FCRN PROJECTS

Plating up progress?

A collaborative project to define usable metrics for assessing food industry progress in delivering sustainable and healthy diets.

Plating Up Progress is a collaborative project of FCRN and the Food Foundation.  We aim to bridge the gaps between investors, businesses and policy-makers so that food businesses are incentivised to be pro-active and transparent in their roles to advance the transition to sustainable and healthy food systems and diets.  In our first phase of work we are focusing on retailers, caterers and restaurants because they are the gatekeepers to the food we eat and the channel through which most commercially produced food is funneled.  Our analysis has identified a number of gaps in companies' reporting and targets, especially concerning dietary shifts, and we are proposing a set of metrics to fill those gaps, and a collaboration with investors to advance their uptake and track their progress.

Project information

The project will undertake preliminary scoping research to understand what metrics are currently being used, by whom, and to what effect.  If necessary, it will further investigate the potential for developing new metrics that could provide more effective ways to measure progress in the food industry.  An important part of this work will be to understand who is most able and willing to use such metrics and why: for example civil society in order to measure food industry progress, the investment community in order to aid investment decision making, businesses in order to measure their own progress, or policy makers.  The scope of this project will most likely confine itself to one sector within the value chain, for example retail, the out of home sector, or food manufacturers, although over time it may be possible to define a comprehensive family of metrics that can be applied across the entire food value chain.

Building the multi-stakeholder partnership will be a major project priority.  The initial engagement phase will guide the work of defining the metrics and help identify both the target audience and target sector within the industry.  The resulting partnership, comprising actors from civil society and research institutions, the investment sector and potentially – although to be decided - the food industry itself, will act as a coalition that can drive forward the use of meaningful metrics in the industry.

The outputs from the project will include the collaborative partnership, a written report on the scoping study and recommendations for action, and a proposal for future initiatives to build on this work. 

If you would like to hear more or are interested in the multi-stakeholder partnership, please get in touch at willnicholson@fcrn.org.uk or 07949 337556.

Will has spent the last 6 years in Scandinavia, integrating food sustainability metrics into business practices in the food industry, working with a range of operators including contract caterers, hotels, independent restaurants and retailers.  He has a Masters in Green Economy from Bournemouth University, and a diverse background in analysis, business consultancy, restaurants and social enterprise initiatives around food and social impact.

Investor briefing on sustainability risks and opportunities for food retailers, caterers and restaurant chains.

Plating Up Progress (a Food Foundation and Food Climate Research Network project) has released a new investor briefing, Plating Up Progress Part 1, which looks at the sustainability risks and opportunities that exist for food retailers, caterers and restaurants.

Plating Up Progress Part 1 addresses key areas of interest for food industry investors.

- Critical food-related challenges include climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, obesity and hunger, human rights, animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance.

- To “fix” food we need sustainable food production, food waste reductions and, crucially, dietary shifts.

- Food retailers, caterers and restaurant chains are uniquely placed to influence all three changes we need to see.

- System-wide risks exist if we fail to act urgently.

- Transitional risks and opportunities that concern these food sectors are:

- Shifts in consumer demand

- Increasing regulation around healthy and sustainable food

- Reputation Food supply and price volatility.

- Food businesses that are heavily dependent on revenue from unhealthy and environmentally damaging foods are most at risk.

Plating Up Progress Part 2 will follow this September to assess risks and opportunities in the UK food retail and restaurant sectors, and how critical disclosure gaps can be filled. 

Download the investor briefing here. Webinars to explore the first paper will take place on the 10, 11 and 17 July 2019. You can register for one of the webinars using the following links:

Wednesday 10th July 2pm (BST) 

Thursday 11th July 2pm (BST) 

Wednesday 17th July 2pm (BST) 

On 5 September 2019, Plating Up Progress will hold a multi-stakeholder conference for investors, businesses and policy makers on accelerating change in the food industry. Keynote speakers include Henry Dimbleby, who is leading the UK government's National Food Strategy, with input from both food business trailblazers and those providing industry benchmarks. Email Will Nicholson to register your interest for the event. 


Plating up progress? A collaborative project to define usable metrics for assessing food industry progress in delivering sustainable and healthy diets.

This one year project, a collaboration between the FCRN and the Food Foundation, has two main aims.  It will scope out the potential for developing a set of actionable, verifiable and industry-relevant metrics that define sustainable and healthy eating patterns; and it will build a multi-stakeholder partnership to advance the uptake of these metrics by those assessing food industry performance.

Plating Up Progress Part 1



This first investor briefing by Plating Up Progress (a Food Foundation and Food Climate Research Network project) looks at the sustainability risks and opportunities that exist for food retailers, caterers and restaurants.

Metrics for sustainable healthy diets



The FCRN and the Food Foundation have jointly produced new report based on a meeting, held November 2016, on the topic of metrics for sustainable healthy diets for the food industry. While a range of sustainability metrics for this industry already exists, none comprehensively measure the progress (or otherwise) that food companies are taking to foster a public shift towards more sustainable and healthy eating patterns (SHEPs). The meeting report considers whether further work on such a set of metrics would be of use.

Below is a list of content on the FCRN site related to this project.

FCRN output

2019

This first investor briefing by Plating Up Progress (a Food Foundation and Food Climate Research Network project) looks at the sustainability risks and opportunities that exist for food retailers, caterers and restaurants.

2016

The FCRN and the Food Foundation have jointly produced new report based on a meeting, held November 2016, on the topic of metrics for sustainable healthy diets for the food industry. While a range of sustainability metrics for this industry already exists, none comprehensively measure the progress (or otherwise) that food companies are taking to foster a public shift towards more sustainable and healthy eating patterns (SHEPs). The meeting report considers whether further work on such a set of metrics would be of use.

Blog entry

2018

Food systems contribute at least 25% of human-made greenhouse gas emissions (1), are responsible for 70% of water consumption (2), are key drivers of terrestrial and marine biodiversity loss (3, 4), and yet about a third of the food that we produce is never actually eaten (5).  Added to that, under a business as usual scenario, food demand is projected to increase globally by a further 50% before 2050 (6), we are experiencing the dual nutritional challenges of over- and under-nutrition, and we have a food industry dominated by a small number of stakeholders who, to a large extent, feed the world.