Changing the Food Game

Second Edition: Market Transformation Strategies for Sustainable Agriculture

By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to grow to 10 billion. To feed everyone, we will have to double our food production, to produce more food in the next 40 years than in the whole of the last 6,000. This updated edition of Changing the Food Game shows how our unsustainable food production system cannot support this growth. In this fully revised version, Lucas Simons argues that the biggest challenge for our generation can only be solved by effective market transformation to achieve sustainable agriculture and food production.

Lucas Simons explains clearly how we have created a production and trading system that is inherently unsustainable. But he also demonstrates that we have reason to be hopeful – from a sustainability race in the cocoa industry to examples of market transformation taking place in palm oil, timber and sugarcane production. He also poses the question: where next?

Provocative and eye-opening, Changing the Food Game uncovers the real story of how our food makes it on to our plates and presents a game-changing solution to revolutionize the industry.

Sustainability of global agricultural commodities is at a critical tipping point. We are at the junction between fragmented niche efforts that are falling short, and collective systematic action that realizes breakthrough impact with farmers and supply chains. This book maps the transformation and offers a path forwards. A must-read for leaders interested in long-lasting impact at sector-wide scale. (Praise for the first edition)

Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mars Incorporated

Changing the Food Game lays down the problem and the solution. The book shows clearly why systemic leadership, innovation and collaboration are the only way forward in dealing with the global food problem. (Praise for the first edition)

Herman Wijffels, Economist and former World Bank representative

Governments, NGOs and industries alike have known for a long time that our agricultural systems are not sustainable; deeply rooted behaviors and systems by all parties need to change. Making changes that will fundamentally reshape the sector requires a long-term vision on how to do business in a sustainable way. Lucas Simons' book is compelling in that it provides an actionable framework to enable the change, stimulates all parties to think beyond their natural boundaries, and gives hope and certainty that sustainable change is within reach. (Praise for the first edition)

Isabelle C.H. Esser, Senior Vice President Foods R&D, Unilever

Food security is one of the greatest challenges of our time. This book clearly shows how business can contribute to the solution, providing valuable insights and a great read. (Praise for the first edition)

Feike Sijbesma, CEO, Royal DSM

This book tells an inspiring story about a just-started journey to a more inclusive and sustainable economy. More than enough reasons to continue. (Praise for the first edition)

Nico Roozen, Director, Solidaridad; Founder, Max Havelaar

Sustainable food systems are pre-competitive. We must work together to produce more with less by focusing globally on productivity and efficiency while reducing waste. This book suggests how we can find the tipping points to get ahead of the curve. (Praise for the first edition)

Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation, WWF

The way we deal with our global challenges has changed significantly over the past 10–20 years. We are much more focused on scale. Currently, unusual coalitions of competitors and key stakeholders are working together in new ways to bring systemic and structural change to the way we do business. This book gives a compelling framework to initiate, facilitate and accelerate complex change processes. A must-read! (Praise for the first edition)

Joost Oorthuizen, CEO, The Sustainable Trade Initiative

Changing the Food Game provides an in-depth spotlight on the complexities, struggles, and transformations within commodity chains. An interesting read. (Praise for the first edition)

Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foundation

Readable, interesting and relevant ... it has a valuable contribution to make. (Praise for the first edition)

Bruno Dyck, Professor of Business Administration, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba



How to read this book

Part I: What is the problem?

1. Guatemala, where it all began

2. What you eat impacts the world

3. Reading and understanding behaviour in systems

4. Why do agricultural markets fail?

Part II: What is the solution?

5. Phases of market transformation

6. How does market transformation start?

7. The first mover and competition phase

8. The critical mass and institutionalization phase

9. The level playing field phase

10. Twelve questions about the market transformation curve

Appendix 1: Sector infographics of coffee, cocoa, and palm oil

Appendix 2: Bibliography and references used

LUCAS SIMONS is Director of NewForesight and SCOPEInsight. He is an Ashoka Fellow, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and was Director of UTZ Certified, a global sustainability standard programme for coffee, tea and cocoa.

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