September 04, 2013
All of a sudden, I seem to be hearing about the “food system” on a daily basis. This term has been used in discussions of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, there are workshops at the Institute of Medicine
about it and universities are developing programs
about it. But what exactly is the food system, and how do dairy companies fit?
Here’s a good definition of the food system from Cornell University
that describes all the pieces that are included.
“All processes involved in keeping us fed: growing, harvesting, processing (or transforming or changing), packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming and disposing of food and food packages. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step.” 1
It can be thought of as a “farm to fork” view of food. Discussions of the food system often touch on sustainability of food production, availability of particular types of foods and people’s eating patterns—these issues are all linked. Food systems can be thought of on global scale or on a very local scale. View an infographic here
Dairy companies fit right in the middle of the process of the food system with processing and packaging dairy products. This is a link between milk production and the ultimate consumer, with companies using resources like raw materials or processing methods and transforming them into a food or beverage that people will choose to eat or drink.
If there is a break down at any particular point in the food system, such as an inability to ...