Innovation can accelerate the transition towards a sustainable food system

Mario Herrero*, Philip K. Thornton, Daniel Mason-D’Croz, Jeda Palmer, Tim G. Benton, Benjamin L. Bodirsky, Jessica Bogard, Andrew Hall, Bernice Lee, Karine Nyborg, Prajal Pradhan, Graham Bonnett, Brett A. Bryan, Bruce Campbell, Svend Christensen, Michael Clark, Mat Cook, Imke J.M. de Boer, Chris Downs, Kanar DizyeeChristian Folberth, Cécile Godde, James Gerber, Michael Grundy, Petr Havlík, Andrew Jarvis, Richard King, Ana Maria Loboguerrero, Mauricio A. Lopes, C. Lynne McIntyre, Rosamond Naylor, Javier Navarro, Michael Obersteiner, Alejandro Parodi, Mark B. Peoples, Ilje Pikaar, Alexander Popp, Johan Rockström, Michael Robertson, Pete Smith, Elke Stehfest, Steve M. Swain, Hugo Valin, Mark van Wijk, Hannah H.E. van Zanten, Sonja Vermeulen, Joost Vervoort, Paul West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Future technologies and systemic innovation are critical for the profound transformation the food system needs. These innovations range from food production, land use and emissions, all the way to improved diets and waste management. Here, we identify these technologies, assess their readiness and propose eight action points that could accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable food system. We argue that the speed of innovation could be significantly increased with the appropriate incentives, regulations and social license. These, in turn, require constructive stakeholder dialogue and clear transition pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-272
Number of pages7
JournalNature Food
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • agriculture
  • science, technology and society


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