For the first time, the most innovative food policy solutions in the Nordic Region have been collected in a single document. The 24 policy examples demonstrate how a shift towards more sustainable food consumption is possible. The different solutions span the areas of nutrition, food culture and identity, public food and meals, food waste and sustainable diets.
Each solution represents a tangible step to address a specific issue; together they represent a new and holistic approach to food policy.
“Agenda 2030 guides our work as a national agency. Food is a key area to ensure that we achieve the SDGs. This motivates us to create ambitious dietary guidelines and interventions for more healthy and sustainable food consumption”, says Annica Sohlström, General Director, Swedish National Food Agency Sweden.
The Nordic diet is the new black
In May 2018, the WHO launched a high-profile report showing that the New Nordic diet - which is one of the examples in the Solutions Menu - is at least as healthy and sustainable as the Mediterranean diet. The New Nordic diet has its roots in the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto, which was formulated in 2004 and gained strong backing from the Nordic governments.
The Nordic governments are taking substantive action to ensure that diets consumed in the North are both healthy for their citizens and the planet. We should all follow their example
According to Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, and Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, Johns Hopkins University, “The Nordic governments are taking substantive action to ensure that diets consumed in the North are both healthy for their citizens and the planet. We should all follow their example.”
The secret ingredients
New Nordic Food and cooperation on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations are well-known examples used by politicians and change agents internationally. Now, new examples such as the ‘Copenhagen Model’ for public meals, nutritional labeling and local gastronomy have been showcased as solutions that address the major challenges facing the world.
WHO applauds this approach of working with nutrition policy as well as food culture and identity as a means of simultaneously tackling non-communicable diseases and creating a shift towards more sustainable food consumption
The comprehensive publication shows that Nordic food policies are successful because they are evidence-based, democratic, progressive, open, holistic and sustainable. These ‘secret ingredients’ have been crucial to implementing concrete change.
“WHO applauds this approach of working with nutrition policy as well as food culture and identity as a means of simultaneously tackling non-communicable diseases and creating a shift towards more sustainable food consumption”, says João Breda, Head of the World Health Organization Europe Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases
Setting the table
Food policy is not like other policy areas. It is less about regulation and more about understanding citizens' everyday lives and values. The Nordic experience of creating long-term food strategies shows that it is crucial to involve people with different perspectives in the process. Politics and partnership go hand in hand. Fortunately, other stakeholders are realising this too.
Around the world, policymakers are finally beginning to understand the potential of championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy
“Around the world, policymakers are finally beginning to understand the potential of championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy”, says Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President, James Beard Foundation
An insider’s perspective on Nordic food policy
The goal behind the Solutions Menu is to make experiences, background information and facts available and transparent to other interested parties. It functions as a 'conversation starter' by helping to start new discussions and reach political goals.
More specifically, the Menu can be used to demonstrate how the Nordic governments have used food policies in response to scientific and consumer demands for more sustainable and healthy food systems, and to shed light on sustainable development in the Nordic region.
”When it comes to making our food systems more sustainable, we see food as a catalyst for climate action,” says Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
Nordic Food Policy Lab The Solutions Menu is produced by the Nordic Food Policy Lab, one of six flagship projects under the Nordic prime ministers’ initiative, Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges.