Call for papers
Using digital technologies to strengthen food fortification and dietary diversification
Posted on December 8, 2021
A sustainable food system is at the core of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that call for major transformations in agriculture and food systems to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030.
The elements of food systems, nutrition, and health are intricately linked. To achieve the SDGs, the global food system needs to be reshaped to ensure the inclusiveness of low-income and marginalized populations and guarantee the capacity to provide healthy and nutritious diets to everyone.
Food-based nutrition interventions have a strong potential to enhance food security by improving food production and availability, processing, supply, and commercialization, all while facilitating its access and consumption for improved nutrition outcomes. Food fortification (including large-scale food fortification and biofortification) and dietary diversification are interventions that can modify diet quality and diversity to address multiple micronutrient deficiencies and possibly help reduce the risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases.
Rapidly evolving and expanding technologies offer key opportunities to address this global grand challenge and. in doing so, create positive impacts on the food system and environment – and ultimately the global population.
With the incredible growth of digital technologies over the last decade, there is tremendous potential to strengthen and improve initiatives and outcomes, especially in low-resource settings and communities which may have been previously unreachable. In fact, several development sectors have already made efforts to incorporate digital technologies into their programs, including health, agriculture, education, and others.
While there is little literature available detailing how digital technologies can be leveraged across food-system nutrition interventions to improve nutritional outcomes, it is evident that its integration is increasing worldwide as it can improve effectiveness and efficiency across the entire food supply chain.
The Unit of Multisectoral Action in Food Systems, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization (WHO), and Nutrition International are jointly exploring the potential of leveraging digital technologies to strengthen food-system nutrition interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification for improved nutrition outcomes. The overall objective of this collaboration is to explore the potential for digital technologies to strengthen food-system interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification that address undernutrition and/or overweight and obesity.
Nutrition International and WHO will co-commission six review papers on the use of digital technologies to strengthen food fortification and dietary diversification. The papers call for review of only published evidence/information.
Objective: Review previous and ongoing use of digital technologies with a focus on food-system interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification, and identify potential areas for future integration of digital technologies in these interventions for improved nutrition outcomes
Objective: Ascertain the purpose of, and lessons from, using digital technologies in other systems/sectors – including health, agriculture, social protection, etc. – and determine how these lessons may be applied to food-system interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification for improved nutrition outcomes
Objective: Identify and document the synergies and disconnects along the food value chain between food system interventions focusing on food fortification and dietary diversification for improved nutrition outcomes
Objective: Use of big data and new technological innovations to support decision making and sustainability of food system interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification to improve nutrition outcomes
Objective: Ascertain an ethics-driven approach to food system nutrition interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification, incorporating key legislation, principles, and practices, to support appropriate data and information collection, use, management, governance and security
Objective: Review evidence on the ability of digital technologies to influence consumers’ understanding and perspectives on the quality of foods, their nutritional value, and health impacts, and suggest ways to shape consumers’ food behaviours to lead to improved nutrition outcomes
The six background papers will address the technical areas and evidence gaps to provide program implementers and policy makers with a comprehensive overview of how digital technologies may be leveraged across food-system interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification to influence and improve nutrition outcomes. The convening team will synthesize and capture the learnings from all these six papers into another (seventh) paper.
Nutrition International and WHO plan to co-convene a technical consultation to review, examine, and critically assess global programmatic evidence and implementation experiences to inform how to best use digital technologies across food-system interventions addressing the double burden of malnutrition.
The meeting is expected to take place in the second half of 2022. The authors will be invited to present their work, which will be published in a special supplement. The overall outcome of this consultation will be a list of gaps and action points related to the use of digital technologies for strengthening food-system nutrition interventions for food fortification and dietary diversification for improved nutrition outcomes, to improve global policy and programming in this area.
Kindly mention ‘Using digital technologies to strengthen food systems nutrition interventions’ in the subject line of the email.
Mid-February 2022 – Nutrition International and WHO will review the proposals and contact the authors/teams to finalize the next steps.
June 15, 2022 – Draft reviews submitted to Nutrition International and WHO
July 31, 2022 – Final reviews submitted to Nutrition International and WHO
 Cecilio Moron. Food-based nutrition interventions at community level. Nutrition and Food Systems | Policy Support and Governance Gateway | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile. British Journal of Nutrition (2006), 96, Suppl. 1, S20–S22.
 Nair MK, Augustine LF and Konapur A (2016) Food-Based Interventions to Modify Diet Quality and Diversity to Address Multiple Micronutrient Deficiency. Front. Public Health 3:277. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00277
 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Sustainable Food Systems: Concept and Framework. (fao.org). Accessed on 27 May 2021