Healthy Diets and Sustainable Consumption

We improve the diets and consumption of low-income and marginalised communities by creating healthier food environments and promoting nutritious foods through capacity building and nutrition-sensitive interventions in sustainable agri-food value chains.

Did you know that nearly one-third of the world's population suffers from malnutrition or micronutrient deficiencies also called hidden hunger?

At SNV, we recognise the importance of addressing this global challenge and this is where our Healthy Diets and Sustainable Consumption approach comes in to improve the diets and nutrition of low-income rural and urban populations, with a special emphasis on vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Addressing the challenges in nutrition

The food environment is a key factor in shaping peoples’ food choices, dietary diversity, and nutrition outcomes. To promote healthy diets, it is important to influence critical aspects within the food environment, such as availability, affordability, accessibility, acceptability, and attractiveness, as well as shape information and inspiring messaging around nutrition, well-being, and sustainability issues.

How we achieve our goals

To address these challenges, our work involves five key components that are mutually reinforcing:

  • Consumption: We use nutrition and consumer analytics to mobilise communities and empower consumers to adopt healthy food consumption patterns and make informed food choices. We create awareness on nutrition through triggering and other social and behaviour change interventions. Through this component, we aim to promote nutrition equity*, involve household members, promote diversified homestead production, and create demand for essential nutrition services like healthcare, social security, WASH, and energy.

  • Distribution and access: We focus on increasing accessibility to nutritious food through innovative distribution logistics, formal and informal fresh markets, and other food retail outlets, as well as institutional procurement for social safety nets and work force meal provisions. The aim is to improve the supply chain bringing nutritious food options closer and more conveniently to bottom of the pyramid populations, both rural and urban, build trust between producers and consumers, promoting responsible marketing practices and increasing affordability. In natural disaster risk prone and fragile state contexts, local supply chain and market interventions can strengthen market resilience of local populations, based on good understanding of the impact of conflict on commercial value chains.

  • Product development and processing: We increase the availability of affordable, nutritious foods addressing the needs of vulnerable population. We focus on consumer-focused value propositions and enhancing the nutrient value of food products through preservative processing techniques and fortification, increasing convenience and desirability and creating year-round availability. The component also strengthens food safety and quality standards and their enforcement, stimulates recyclable packaging, and promotes the utilisation of side-streams to reduce waste.

  • Nutrition sensitive production: We inform farm systems, livestock, and crop choices, based on food security, environment, and nutrition trade-offs. We promote crop diversification, seek to revive neglected and underutilised local crop species, address nutrition gaps, gender norms, and food safety across the value chain. Through this component, we explore urban and peri-urban agriculture systems and strengthen extension services capacity for nutrition-sensitive climate smart production.

  • Nutrition governance: We support multisectoral coordination and collaboration for nutrition integration and harmonisation aligned to a common nutrition agenda. We promote community involvement, advocacy, and service provider commitment to nutrition. We also strengthen nutrition situation assessments and monitoring, including data management and analysis, to inform policies and programming. We advocate for improved policies and legislation governing the food environment and to promote sustainable agri-food systems.

Connecting the dots: the interconnectivity of SNV's agri-food approaches

Transforming food systems requires addressing multiple interconnected aspects simultaneously and cannot be achieved through a single agri-food approach alone.

The Healthy Diets and Sustainable Consumption approach makes a significant contribution to the overall objective of the agri-food sector, seeking to promote diversified and nutritious diets, ensuring food and nutrition security, and achieving sustainable consumption. Leveraging our expertise in community mobilisation, inclusive value chains and market development, we integrate nutrition-sensitive approaches across agricultural and pastoralist productivity, diversified resource-efficient value chains, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and improved availability of nutritious food in the face of supply and food price shocks. SNV’s nutrition programming approach focusses on the nutrition outcome of value chains and markets by consciously shaping the consumer orientation raising nutrition awareness and commitment across all food system actors.

* Nutrition equity focuses on opportunities and barriers within food systems and health systems that affect access to healthy, affordable food, and quality nutrition care, thus leading to unequal nutrition outcomes (or nutrition inequalities).