Italian pasta maker Barilla has upped its increasing activity in nutrition research by opening a Paris-based extension to its Food and Nutrition Thinktank, that coincided with a US expansion.
The Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) is now able to draw on a pool of experts in these two countries and others as it explores nutrition and sustainability questions such as improving the nutrition of a planet that will soon house more than 7bn people.
With that figure growing to 9bn in 2050, it is estimated food production will need to increase 70-100% in the next 40 years.
Founder-chairman of the BCFN, Guido Barilla, said France was an important hub in the global nutrition research network.
“The BCFN is an internationally active think-tank, and I particularly wanted to open up the debate in France, which has always been one of the leaders in this field,” Barilla said at the launch of the Paris branch this month where new projects were unveiled.
“Today in Paris, we are presenting the results of key research,” he said.
“The first is on a new methodology for measuring well-being, which incorporates new aspects such as educational well-being, social well-being, political well-being, and others. The second subject is the ‘Double Pyramid’: a model that takes account of both nutritional intake and its corresponding impact on the environment.”
Of the panel of 10 countries evaluated in the well-being index, France appears in 5th place, with a well-being index of 5.7. Denmark has the highest index (7.5), whilst Greece is at the bottom of the table (3.8).
Professor Riccardo Valentini, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presented the environmental aspects of Double Pyramid, which shows nutritious foods are generally also better for the environment. He showed that an individual on a Mediterranean will typically have an ecological footprint of 12.3m² per day – less than half the footprint of someone eating a typical North American diet.
Speaking at its US launch in Washington, DC, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned a range of challenges facing the agency and food production in general as the world’s population increases, the central theme of the BCFN event.
In response to the question of “whether we are going to feed people or whether we are going to feed animals”, Vilsack said that he appreciated the value of the livestock industry, but there was a need for growing diversification of the American food supply, and mentioned using warehouses in urban areas for food production as one example of innovation going on in this area.