Speaking with Food Navigator in light of World Food Day (WFD), Nierenberg said few companies were responding well to challenges such as ensuring safety standards, finding enough products, hunger and climate change, although she named Unilever as one to follow.
“Companies still source their ingredients from countries where there are diseases and conflicts. Smaller companies might have no resources to look at those challenges. Big companies put their heads in the sand,” she said.
Family farming on the up
The focus of this year’s WFD is 'Family farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth’.
“People think that big farms are in majority, while in reality it’s the opposite. There are 500 million small holder farms producing 57% of the world’s food. Businesses not working with those farmers are missing out on a big opportunity. It takes more time and it takes a real commitment from companies, but they should do it for the sake of being economically and environmentally sustainable,” said Nierenberg.
She also added that they should do it for their consumers as the demand for locally-grown products from small and medium farmers was constantly increasing.
“Those who have the means want to buy from farmers who have a story. They want to know more about where their food comes from. There is demand for foods that remind people of different times, food that their grandparents would have eaten.”
Every day is a food day
2014 has been established as 'World Food Year' by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Nierenberg said it contributed tremendously to highlighting the work farmers do, which we don’t think normally think about.
“Recognising WFD is important but every day is food day. We need to be supporting farmers all year long, valuing all the things they do and learning from them,” she said.