India is forecast to experience the largest increase in urban population of any country in the world – its cities could have another 404 million mouths to feed by the year 2050.
Against a backdrop of growth and opportunity, India is home to roughly one-quarter of the world’s undernourished people. Much of urban India is considered highly or moderately food insecure.
Differences in nutritional status among urban residents and communities largely reflect the widening income gap between the urban wealthy and urban poor, who consume on average 55 percent less nutrition than the wealthiest urban residents.
Achieving urban food and nutrition security against the headwinds of rapid urbanization is one of India’s greatest challenges. Public health interventions and effective food safety nets are required for the most vulnerable.
Alongside these traditional approaches, nothing short of supply chain transformation in India will deliver the prospect of meeting increased demand for safe, affordable, and nutritious food in urban areas.
The private sector has a central role to play in this transformation and will be instrumental in applying technologies and best practices to build out modern infrastructure and processes for delivering perishable, nutritious foods from the rural farm to the urban table.
The onus is on India’s policymakers to create an enabling environment for these critical private sector investments to succeed.
This new report by Andrea Durkin for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs focuses on the journey of food in India from the farm to the urban markets where India’s city residents buy their food. It highlights the commercial challenges, the public and private investments required, and the policy frameworks needed to improve the delivery of higher quality food options to India’s cities and all of its residents.