circular food system_human nutrion_ kringlooplandbouw

Human nutrition and circular food systems

Diets composted from food produced in a circular food system need to meet nutritional requirements for all people living on our planet.

We need to ensure sufficient human nutrition. In low and middle-income countries, the combination of the projected global population growth and lack of nutrient availability challenges their ability to sustainably nourish their populations. Increasing nutritious food groups, e.g. animal source food (ASF) in combination with other locally available food sources targeted to increase the missing nutrients in diets canl make an essential contribution to human nutrition in these countries.

Diet composition

The current consumption of ASF in Africa is 13 g of protein per person per day, far below the world average of 32 g. In many African countries prevalence of undernutrition is high which highlights the importance of increasing the nutrient content such as vitamin B12 or iron in their diet. In high-income countries, diets are rich and consumption levels of ASF are high (63 g protein per person per day) resulting in diet-related diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and colorectal cancer. Diets in high income countries contain large quantities of processed food; a well-known example is the consumption of white bread from refined grains instead of the brown bread produced from wholegrains. The above described examples show the importance of providing locally relevant dietary advices that consider social-economic circumstances.

Reduce food losses and waste

In a circular food system it should be our first priority to prevent human edible by-products, which for example means that we should consume whole grains instead of refined grains, thereby preventing food waste or losses. Unavoidable human edible by-products should be reused as human food wherever possible. Only once these options have been exhausted, should they be recycled into the food system together with by-products inedible for humans - in order to enrich the soil and fertilise crops, or to feed animals.