Expert opinion survey on Israel’s food system: implications for food and health policies

Emily Soh*, Elliot M. Berry*, Eran Feitelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: While there has been increasing global recognition and impetus for action to transform food systems towards greater food security, sustainability and better health outcomes, Israel has only recently begun to focus on the diverse challenges of its food system and its potential for transformation. Methods: An expert opinion survey (n = 50) on Israel’s food system was conducted as part of a larger study on the systemic features of Israel’s food system transition to understand its policy gaps and find strategies towards a healthy and sustainable food system. The survey ranks the relevance and importance of food system challenges and policy preferences. Policy implications are then examined by identifying potential priorities, gaps and dissensus. Results: The survey finds that there is a majority agreement (76%) that Israel’s food policies are lacking or severely lacking. Respondents relate strongly to both concepts of nutritional security (90% think that access to nutritious food is relevant or highly relevant) and national food security (more than 80% perceive food security as part of national security). Respondents overwhelmingly recognize the benefits of Israeli agriculture with 60–90% agreeing or strongly agreeing that it benefits food security, economic value and national identity. Top-ranked problems include overall systemic problems such as the lack of national goals, strategic planning, and integrated policymaking across ministries, and specific ones such as food waste, costly farming inputs, and food affordability. The most preferred policy actions include establishing a national strategy for food and agriculture, making food affordable for vulnerable households, and incentivising sustainable farming methods. The key policy gaps include the lack of resilience in agriculture and the food system, insufficient data and knowledge for policy action, inadequate attention to the regulation of the food industry for better health and inadequate food policy attention for minority groups. Conclusions: Building on this study's findings, further policy research and implementation areas to be covered include government responsibility for universal food security, strategic systemic policies for food systems, prevention and preparedness for future crises, and promoting resilience. The way forward may best be through an inter-ministerial committee with the responsibility, budgets, mandate and executive authority to plan data-driven policies for a sustainable food system for Israel’s future.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number4
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Expert opinion survey
  • Food policies
  • Food security
  • Food system transitions
  • Nutritional security
  • Sustainability

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