Innovation with a Purpose: Food Innovation Hubs

Food Innovation Hubs

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide lack access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food, and 690 million people suffer from chronic hunger or lack of proper nutrition. The current food system needs to produce much more food, while planetary boundaries are already being crossed. The Food Innovation Hubs initiative, which was launched by the World Economic Forum with public, private and civil society partners, is a call to action for a locally driven programme, enabling innovations to improve the way we produce and consume food sustainably, through an ecosystems approach.

Our food systems must become more sustainable, efficient, inclusive and deliver more nutritious and healthy food. Innovations that can help transform our food systems are often already out there. Unfortunately, the adoption and scale-up of innovations in the agri-food sector lags behind other sectors. Collaboration between stakeholders, who are working from “farm to fork”, is key.

That is why the World Economic Forum and partners have initiated Food Innovation Hubs across the globe. Food Innovation Hubs are a multistakeholder, pre-competitive and market-based partnership platform aimed at strengthening local innovation ecosystems to sustainably scale innovative solutions for the transformation of food systems.

Locally driven – globally supported

Food Innovation Hubs are the next phase of the World Economic Forum’s Innovation with a Purpose platform and a flagship initiative of the Forum’s Food Action Alliance. The hubs are founded by partners from government, the private sector, innovators, entrepreneurs, farmer organizations, civil society, international organizations and others.

The hubs are designed locally to address the needs of the local food system to:

·        Foster and cultivate food systems innovation

·        Support delivery and adoption of innovations at scale

·        Develop a community of practice to share learnings and build capacity


Guiding principles

The Food Innovation Hubs are partnership platforms that connect across various ecosystem actors to foster partnerships and networks that unlock investments, stimulate innovation and collectively work to raise barriers. Hubs focus primarily on state national or regional-level opportunities and are guided by the following principles:

-         Multistakeholder and inclusive, engaging governments, private sector, innovators, farmer organizations, civil society, international organizations and others

-         Locally driven and owned, and aligned with national and regional goals, strategies and plans and in support of the Sustainable Development Goals

-         Market-based, focusing on catalysing and expanding sustainable and inclusive investments and market-based activities

-         Neutral facilitator, playing the role of catalyst and honest broker 

Global structure of Food Innovation Hubs

A growing set of global players from the private and public sector drives and supports this exciting initiative. The Food Innovation Hubs are supported by a Global Coordinating Secretariat hosted by the World Economic Forum. The secretariat enables the founding of local hubs, supports their functioning, stimulates adoption of innovation and creates a global network and learning environment.

The first Food Innovation Hubs are being developed in Colombia, India and Europe. In addition, scoping work is under way in several countries in Africa (Zambia/Kenya/Ethiopia) and in Viet Nam. Each hub will be locally owned and governed.


Join the Food Innovation Hub community

Partners, at both a global and local level, have the opportunity to get involved, driving and developing the Food Innovation Hubs to help scale and accelerate the innovations needed in our food systems. Join the local ecosystems and the global network!

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