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The True Value of Food Initiative

make healthy and sustainable food
more affordable and accessible for all

FAO report

FAO report 2023 cover_edited.jpg

The State of Food and Agriculture 2023:
Revealing the true cost of food to transform agrifood systems

It looks into the true cost of food for sustainable agrifood systems. The report introduces the concept of hidden environmental, health and social costs and benefits of agrifood systems and proposes an approach – true cost accounting (TCA) – to assess them. To operationalize the TCA approach, the report proposes a two-phase assessment process, first relying on national-level TCA assessments to raise awareness and then moving towards in-depth and targeted evaluations to prioritize solutions and guide transformative actions


The main objective of this initiative is to unlock the potential of the True Value of Food for governments, businesses, investors, and consumers by providing them with a new economic basis for decision-making. The hidden environmental, health, and economic costs in current food systems exact a significant detrimental impact on the planet and society. True Cost Accounting, and interventions developed in response to TCA findings, can enhance the value of food systems and their ability to address climate change and other global crises. 


The True Value of Food Initiative leverages key milestone events and networks to

  1. raise awareness of food systems' hidden costs;

  2. amplify TCA frameworks, tools, research, and case studies, as well as successful business and policy interventions to maximize the True Value of Food; and

  3. connect interested governments with appropriate implementation partners. 

Case Studies

Access our list of academic papers, policy interventions and business solutions which shed light towards a True Value of Food approach.

Call to Action

The True Value of Food Initiative calls on governments and business leaders to join us in demanding a full accounting of the true costs and unrealized benefits of food systems, and to invest in practices that maximize food systems’ potential to solve climate change and other longstanding global challenges. 

Q&A on the True Value of Food,
True Cost Accounting and True Pricing

How can we use the notion of True Value of Food, True Cost Accounting and true pricing? How should we deal with the limitations and concerns, such as potential price rise?
Please read our Q&A developed by the Members of the UNFSS Scientific Group.



November 2022

At the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, the True Value of Food Initiative announced a Call to Action to governments across the globe to make healthy, sustainable, affordable food the new normal by committing to increasing the True Value of Food.

May 2022

Due to the rapidly growing global food crisis, food features at the top of international agendas including the World Economic Forum in Davos. At the forum, Rabobank, WBCSD and Impact Institute together organized a thinktank dinner on the theme of "the true value of food".

January 2022

Building on the momentum of the UNFSS, leveraging the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, and recognising that much remains to be learned about the science and practice of the True Value of Food, three of the initiators – the WBCSD, Impact Institute and Rabobank – together with DSM, organised an online session on the future of the True Value of Food, bringing together the perspectives of producers, traders, consumers, banks and corporates.

September 2021

During preparations for the UN Food Systems Summit, the True Value of Food has emerged as possibly the ultimate gamechanger to realize sustainable food systems. By uncovering the true costs and benefits of food, the True Value of Food can help governments and private sector create an economic model that promotes healthy, sustainable, profitable and affordable food. At the same time, much remains to be learned about the science and practice.



To learn more about the True Value of Food Initiative or to join us, please contact us using the form on the right,
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