Pick Up

244. Nature Food: Impact of COVID-19 on Food and Recommendations

Related Research Program
Information Analysis



A commentary article in Nature Food, published in February 2021, describes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems, diet and nutrition.  In 2019, according to the article, 690 million people were undernourished, 2 billion were food insecure, 3 billion could not afford a healthy diet, 144 million children under the age of 5 were stunted, 47 million were wasted, 38 million were overweight, and at least 340 million suffered from micronutrient deficiency. Due to the pandemic and economic recession, it is projected that by 2022, there will be an additional 9.3 million wasted children, 2.6 million stunted, 168,000 child deaths, 83-132 million malnourished adults, and 88-115 million in extreme poverty.

COVID-19 has affected food and nutrition security from many angles, including economic and social system shocks, food system disruptions, and the gaps in coverage of essential health and nutrition services. These effects are disproportionately large for vulnerable groups, especially low- and middle-income countries, women, young children, adolescents, the elderly, migrants and displaced persons. Also, compared to staple foods, nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are more affected by inadequate value chains.

The article proposed the following priority recommendations and actions to adapt and strengthen food systems for food and nutrition security: (1) Food systems must be made more effective, inclusive, resilient and nutritious. (2) The flow of nutritious foods through social protection programs must be increased.

One of the main mission of JIRCAS is to collect and provide information on strategic trends in international agriculture, forestry and fisheries research, and various discussions on the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and the food system have been featured in this Pick Up section.


Carducci, B., Keats, E.C., Ruel, M. et al. Food systems, diets and nutrition in the wake of COVID-19. Nat Food 2, 68–70 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00233-9

Contributor: SHIRATORI Sakiko (Research Strategy Office)

Related Pages