Abstract for: Non-communicable Disease Dynamics and Prevention: Dynamics of Nutritious Food Market Transformation Initiatives

This paper examines challenges and opportunities for policy actions that transform healthy living behaviour. We examine how policies and other decisions, made by various types of actors (i.e. consumers, industry, agriculture, government, NGOs, and global institutions) evolve as they interact and collectively shape nutritious food markets over time. Such a transformation is characterized by multiple feedbacks and long-term delays, and involving disjointed public and private level interactions, produces counterintuitive behaviour. To develop an in-depth understanding of the major challenges and identify high-leverage strategies in transitioning away from low nutrition / high motivational (LN-HM)-based food system we have developed a behavioral dynamic model with a broad scope. Key actors in the models include consumers, producers, and policy-makers. In this paper we describe the model and carry out simulation experiments designed to examine barriers to self-sustaining market shifts between supply and demand factors. Collective action among producers to improve nutrition, while important in achieving nutritional change, builds up slow and is failure prone, due to a range of compensating supply and demand feedbacks. We analyze and discuss the role of cross-product category substitution, the contextual role of consumer switching dynamics, and a variety of initiatives, including those oriented around marketing and R&D. We conclude by discussing the importance of coordination and commitment across actors and model extensions.