The FSI looks at the food-system sustainability of 78 countries according to three specific pillars:

  • food loss and waste
  • sustainable agriculture
  • nutritional challenges

Researchers are discovering that despite food waste being a global issue, only 28% of the countries in the entire FSI have a dedicated food waste strategy.

The top five performing countries include Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Around the world, the report highlights that there are still major gaps in the policy around sustainable agricultural systems. Less than 50% of all countries in the FSI are mainstreaming climate change into their agricultural policies, and only 36% are prioritizing agriculture in their Nationally Determined Contributions.

Countries performing best in this pillar include Finland, Estonia, Austria, Tanzania, and Sweden.

Japan, Sweden, Denmark, France, and China are the top five performing countries for nutritional challenges. This pillar highlights the important differences between the nutritional challenges faced by high-income countries compared to middle-to-low income countries: in the former, overconsumption and overweight are key issues, while in the latter, undernourishment and mortality rates are high.

Martin Koehring, Senior Manager at Economist Impact says,

“The results of the 2021 Food Sustainability Index highlights that countries around the world still have a lot to do to tackle key food systems challenges. Our research shows that efforts to tackle food sustainability sit alongside efforts to address key social and economic objectives such as human development, sustainable development, gender equality, health spending and support for innovation."