XPRIZE Aims to Transform Global Food System, Outlines 12 Breakthroughs

Oct 16 2019

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New Impact Roadmap Pinpoints Viable Solutions for Improving Global Food and Nutrition Security

LOS ANGELES (October 16, 2019) – Today, on World Food Day, XPRIZE is releasing the Future of Food Impact Roadmap. This digital report and interactive website identifies a set of core food system problems and highlights 12 breakthroughs that can establish a more food secure and environmentally sustainable world by 2050. The Impact Roadmap was created in partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

 In the year 2050, there are projected to be 10 billion people on earth, according to United Nations estimates. Currently, humanity and the planet are ill-equipped to sustain a population of that size. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, over 25% of humanity fails to receive adequate nutrients and 1 in 9 go hungry. Furthermore, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, worldwide, all forms of malnutrition cost $3.5 trillion, and non-communicable diseases due to obesity, such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, cost an additional $2 trillion. Food production and consumption create tremendous environmental impacts, and yet, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, around 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, with up to 70% of employment in developing countries in the food and agriculture sectors, according to the World Bank Group.

“XPRIZE Impact Roadmaps identify the game-changing, highly innovative, disruptive interventions can help bring about needed systems change,” said Chief Impact Officer of XPRIZE Zenia Tata. “The Future of Food Impact Roadmap will help us tackle one of the greatest societal challenges of achieving food security for a growing, wealthier, urbanizing population while minimizing further environmental degradation and diet-related diseases.”

XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Part of its Prize Design efforts include Impact Roadmaps – detailed reports that analyze complex and overlapping social, technological, economic, environmental, and policy issues, to identify the highest potential solutions within a given domain. XPRIZE Impact Roadmaps, including the Future of Food Impact Roadmap, are created through extensive secondary research, expert interviews, collaborative workshops with leading organizations and partners, along with crowdsourced feedback and activities through a community of multidisciplinary experts around the world.

The Future of Food Impact Roadmap identifies three grand challenges in food systems: consuming and producing healthier food; creating more lucrative employment opportunities within food supply chains; and managing food systems within environmental limits.

The Future of Food Impact Roadmap lists the following breakthroughs for providing a pathway to overcome these challenges and create a food transformation:

  • Food System Data Trust: A shared database that ensures protected, democratized  access to massive amounts of data collected on agri-food activities and consumption.
  • Land Use Revolution: Methods of optimizing natural resources and inputs such as water, soil, seeds, and fertilizer to minimize waste and contamination.
  • Renewable Energy for All: Low cost and accessible grid and off-grid renewable energy sources that regularly supply and store reliable energy for rural and peri-urban households and farms.
  • Accessible Precision Agriculture: Precision agriculture tools that are affordable, accessible across the digital divide, context specific, and widely available for small-holder farmers.
  • Ocean and Land Biodiversity Stewardship: A system for analyzing, tracking, and valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services, recognizing the vast benefits of biodiversity in a manner that influences market activity at scale.
  • Food Production in Urban Networks: Expanding food production from crop farming, livestock rearing, and fisheries to encompass a range of new modalities in urban and peri-urban areas, to de-couple some food production from land and sea and create connected, sustain-able, circular value chains.
  • Unleashing Local Knowledge Enabling Small and Medium Enterprise Innovation: Accelerating the creation, scale, and efficacy of environments that unleash small and medium-sized enterprises’ potential, while focusing on strengthening access to assets, markets, and investment to encourage and de-risk grassroots value chain innovation.
  • Extending Food Lifetimes Reduced Fresh Food Perishability: Novel, affordable, and accessible methods to dramatically extend the life of fresh food by monitoring crop and food quality, reducing spoilage along the value chain, and educating consumers on usage options.
  • Alternative and Novel Proteins at Scale: An unprecedented scale-up in consumption of protein sources that are not drawn from wild or farmed animals.
  • Food as Medicine: Utilization of technological advances such as in personalized nutrition, linking food consumption, human genetics, and the gut microbiome to optimize nutrition, manage consumption, and inform medical decisions.
  • True Cost of Food: An open source and universally standardized evaluation frame-work to monetize the external costs of food systems, translated into adjusted price points, that incentivizes the consumption of “good” food.
  • Actionable Food Experiences Crafting New Food Norms: A range of tools to influence consumers, powered by cutting-edge emerging technologies and behavioral science, to shift consumption toward food choices that are healthier and more environ-mentally sustainable.

“Partnering with XPRIZE to create the Future of Food Impact Roadmap is a significant step to advancing the global food system,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “At FFAR we strive to fund the most audacious, transformative research that will have real-world impact. We are proud to be part of this critical roadmap that is preparing for agriculture’s next frontier.”

“The Future of Food Impact Roadmap is a critical piece in creating knowledge, innovation, and solutions to food systems that improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world,” said Renaud De Plaen, IDRC’s Program Leader for Agriculture and Food Security. “We hope that being a part of this process, and in outlining necessary breakthroughs, we’ve helped create a better future for all, where people around the world consume healthy, nutritious foods.”

“Partnering with XPRIZE to create the Future of Food Impact Roadmap provides an opportunity to identify innovative and disruptive breakthroughs needed to achieve our preferred future” said Mellissa Wood, General Manager Global Program, ACIAR. “The knowledge base it provides will help shape the collaborative research agenda needed to transform our global food systems and deliver sustainable food and nutrition security”.

In addition to the Future of Food Impact Roadmap, XPRIZE has produced the Future of Housing Impact Roadmap, sponsored by Lowe’s, and the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap supported by Kimberly Clark and the Future of Longevity Impact Roadmap supported by Longevity Vision Fund Founder and XPRIZE Board Member, Sergey Young. To learn more or get involved with the Future of Food Impact Roadmap, visit impactmaps.xprize.org.


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit xprize.org.