Published January 24, 2024 | Version v2
Other Open

FEAST - Report on BIA-Obesity/Sustainability assessments

  • 1. ROR icon University College Cork
  • 2. ROR icon Sciensano (Belgium)
  • 3. ROR icon Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo

Description

The goal of FEAST is that every person living in Europe can easily eat a healthier and more sustainable diet. This is not currently the case. Unhealthy and unsustainable food systems predominate, and the result is illness and suffering. Non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, now account for the biggest share of deaths and disability-adjusted life years in the WHO’s Europe region.

In Europe, the BIA-Obesity has previously (2019-2020) been implemented in Belgium and France across four sectors (packaged food and beverage manufacturers, supermarkets and quick service restaurants) as part of the STOP Horizon2020 project (Van Dam, Guillon, et al., 2022; Van Dam, Reimes, et al., 2022). We built on this work in FEAST task 3.1 and applied the BIA-Sustainability and BIA-Obesity in Belgium, Portugal and Ireland.

To assess the impact of commercial actors on population nutrition and environmental sustainability, we used the Business Impact Assessment for Obesity and Population Health (BIA-Obesity), and the Business Impact Assessment for Sustainability (BIA-Sustainability). The BIA-Sustainability framework was developed by the International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS). This followed on from the BIA-Obesity which was initially developed and then implemented in a range of countries over the period 2018-2020.  In this project, Sciensano, as part of the STOP Horizon 2020 project, investigated if and how the food industry was contributing to improving population nutrition and preventing obesity through the implementation of a BIA-Obesity approach in Belgium and in France. Generally, commitments were found weak and vague, and practices unhealthy (Van Dam, Guillon, et al., 2022; Van Dam, Reimes, et al., 2022). Then, it was decided to implement the same approach to investigate the commitments on environmental sustainability of food industry companies. The BIA processes were adapted from the Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) that benchmarks the nutrition-related commitments, performance and disclosure practices of global food and beverage manufacturers.

Across the three countries, our analysis shows that companies’ commitments by and large fall well short of best practice in BIA-Sustainability and, especially, in BIA-Obesity. The examples of best available practice that we have identified are, with very few exceptions, not widely adopted within the sector, and even these best available practices still fall short of best practice as defined by WHO and/or by scientists in the relevant fields. It remains to be seen whether practices, particularly in relation to population health, nutrition, and obesity, will measure up to these commitments.

More information can be accessed at www.feast2030.eu

Notes

Other funding acknowledgements: Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 22.00156.

Files

FEAST_WP3_ Report-on-BIA-Obesity-Sustainability-assessmentsDel3.1_D_20231223_V2.pdf

Additional details

Funding

FEAST – FEAST 101060536
European Commission
FEAST (Food systems that support transitions to hEalthy And Sustainable dieTs 10041509
UK Research and Innovation