This document is a brief introduction to the new food systems-based dietary guidelines (FSBDGs) methodology developed by FAO, which not only aims to address health and nutritional priorities but takes a food system approach to promote healthy diets, by considering socio-cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Why is a food systems-based methodology necessary?
Most countries have developed dietary guidelines with a focus on improving consumers’ nutrition and overall health. Such guidelines have been mainly used for nutrition education. Only a few countries have extended their use to inform policies and interventions in other sectors, such as in public procurement and social protection.
To leverage their potential for doing more in other sectors, some countries have included sustainability considerations in new or revised dietary guidelines. However, the methodologies and approaches used by these countries differ significantly from one another and are seldom made public.
The international community has recognized the potential and need for dietary guidelines to catalyze food systems transformation towards sustainability and to influence policies beyond the scope of consumer education. However, at present, there is a lack of global guidance and tools to facilitate this.
To fill in this gap, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed the new food systems-based dietary guidelines (FSBDGs) methodology through a collaborative process involving multiple global, regional, and country-level experts.