Food Policy Literature Review Essay

A Literature Review on Food Policy


Institute of Affiliation




Food policy has been an issue among developed and developing countries due to the problem of sustainability. While different nations have implemented various policies to address the sustainability crisis, scholarly sources show that governments focus on supply-side intervention policies as the critical component of ensuring food security. The reason for selecting this topic is the provision of a healthy food supply remains a problem among many countries. Insufficient food supply is a matter of national security and an economic crisis. The changing climate patterns seem to affect food supply worldwide due to changes in planting seasons. Moreover, there are rising issues that food production and processing are not done correctly according to food regulations provided by food safety and health organizations. There is a concern that people are consuming unhealthy foods due to harsh economic times that compels them to cut down on food budgets. The paper includes analyzing three articles to evaluate the accuracy and effectiveness of the methodology used to investigate food policies. The analysis also comprises gaps in the literature and recommendations for further studies. The essay will demonstrate that large population samples could increase the robustness of the methodologies used in the three articles.


Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4) conducted multifactor literature on sustainable food policies through a content analysis of research papers published between 2016 and 2018. The study aims to suggest policies promoting innovative approaches in cereal production based on three research designs, which include sustainable food policies, health and nutrition, and agronomy and food processing (Sacchi et al. 2018, p. 4). The first phase of the research involves participatory discussion where participants were asked to identify crucial food policy issues, they would want to be addressed based on the three areas of focus. Moreover, researchers conducted a paper filtering process to determine articles relevant to the topic and assessed their conformity of the content analysis to determine their reliability to the study. Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 7) found that the studies retained relevant criteria as articles chosen provided more stringent results.

The researchers employed a qualitative and quantitative evaluation. They found the overall relevance score of the reviews was 3.37, which indicates the accuracy of data obtained from the studies concerning the study topic. Moreover, participatory research enabled researchers to address practical problems resulting from investigating food policies on cereal farming projects in Europe. A compliance test design using a Likert scale of 1 to 5 was used to assess the compliance of the reviewed papers with the study objectives (Sacchi et al., 2018, p. 5). The screening process results showed the search in bibliographic studies produced 239 records, which were eligible in investigating food policy methods adopted in the cereal farming practices in Europe. Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 5) inferred that food policies on stakeholders’ role, socio-ecological embeddedness, and the impact of agrobiodiversity on food security remain unaddressed.  

The second study by Thow et al. (2018, p. 1106) addressed food policy improvements towards ensuring food security and nutrition in South Africa. The methodology employed was semi-structured interviews with 22 participants who were asked various questions on policymaking beliefs affecting food security. A policy, content reviews on government websites was conducted to determine the best food security and nutrition policies. The recognized 40 strategy documents that addressed relevant government enterprises to food security policies and found they aligned with a 2013 to 2017 Strategic Plan. The plan addressed government commitment to the right to food, accessibility, and nutritious food (Thow et al., 2018, p. 1118). They used NVIVOTM software that enabled them to organize data in a framework that showed the role of actors’ coalitions, both within and outside the government, in shaping food policy outcomes. Moreover, food supply objectives identified from the review were found to support a whole-of-government level national plan that addresses social and economic development in the food industry. Major relevant themes identified include supporting food production through increased employment, agricultural production, and nutrition security.

The third article by Kwon et al. (2019, p. 2) includes quantitative data collected from five countries, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which were chosen to investigate regulations used during food labeling marketing, and taxation. The methodology used included a repeated cross-sectional study and a survey that participants completed through the Nielsen Consumer Insights Global Panel. The panel was developed to sample eligible participants for the study from the targeted countries. An analysis of survey results was employed to compare data from the targeted participants regarding various food policies, menu labeling, food taxation, and school food policies (Kwon et al., (2019, p. 3). Researchers found 13 policies that aligned with recommendations and implementation of food policies from the target countries.

Research designs used in the articles determine the robustness of the results. For instance, the use of multifactor literature and participatory discussion by Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4) enabled the researchers to selected articles relevant to implementing the best food policies. The study’s broadness showed researchers analyzed a wide range of data to increase the accuracy of the results. This is indicated by the quantitative and qualitative evaluation score of 3.4 that suggests sources, sorted for the research were relevant for understanding the best agricultural production policies. Although the article’s topic focuses on sustainable food systems, it does not address specific food policies. Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4) seem concentrated on investigating practical problems associated with a CERERE project, but do not show policy recommendations, suggesting an existing gap in the literature. The robustness of the research design used in the article is limited by the lack of disclosure of specific government websites that researchers reviewed. Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4)’s research design is similar to the design employed in Thow et al. (2018, p. 1106), who also used interviews and reviewed government websites to select sources relevant to the topic. However, Thow et al. (2018, p. 1106) differ from Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4)’s article in that researchers were more specific about food policies in their research objectives. For instance, they aimed to investigate food policies through cross-referencing policy documents addressing best food security and nutrition policy, the impact of international economic agreements, and policies supporting food security and nutrition (Thow et al., 2018, p. 1107). However, the methodology used by Thow et al. (2018, p. 1118) is not robust since researchers found only 40 documents addressing food policy topics while Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4) found 239 sources, including peer-reviewed articles that were relevant to the study.

Kwon et al. (2019, p. 3)’s article provides an in-depth research, analysis due to the comprehensive sample of participants included in the research. The researchers surveyed more than 25,000 participants from five countries: Australia, Mexico, the US, UK, and Canada. Moreover, a recruitment processes the researchers included helped to increase the relevance of results. Although Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4) and Thow et al. (2018, p. 1106) also included interviews, their overall relevance score in delivering quality results in lower than Kwon et al. (2019, p. 3)’s. However, this does not undermine the research methods employed in two articles, such as the screening process used by Sacchi et al. (2018, p. 4), to improve the relevance of the sources to the study. The third article explicitly addresses food policy issues as observed in the result findings. Kwon et al. (2019, p. 3) found that food policies that received the highest level of support (68 percent) were those dealing with subsidies to reduce fruits and vegetable prices. Respondents support policies focusing on the ban on the sale of processed food and beverages to children. Overall, all three articles addressed various topics on food policies and regulations.


The significant contributions of the peer-reviewed articles can be understood from the view of agricultural production policies. The findings show public policies should be designed to increase food security through economic and socio-political approaches. This includes developing policies that address issues of non-excludability and non-rivalry in ingesting. The articles suggest that effective food policies should center on regulating food markets to reduce the overreliance on processed foods and promoting organic farming. Since producers cannot influence their efforts, the administration has a dominant part to play by giving them inducements to grow and process healthy food products.

The findings from the three articles highlight significant challenges for policymakers where potential policies are focused on addressing the causes of poor diets but receive little support from the public. The findings show there are more internal restrictions from governments, creating a barrier to implement real-world policies that promote food security and nutrition. These include the lack of effective sugary drink taxation policies in countries, suggesting and encouraging areas that need further research. However, the three articles show a gap in the literature regarding underlying factors that prevent effective policy implementation by governments, which discourage the public from supporting such policies. It is also crucial to note that even though further government strategies obtained little sustenance, only a moderate size of the participants as opposed to them. For example, an average of 37 percent of the three articles supported the ban on fast food products.

The major limitation of the three studies is the limited number of participants since the selection process might have caused biases in the results. Researchers likely controlled the sample designs to achieve the results they wanted, but it seems complementary interviews and systematic reviews might have removed the bias risk. Further research in this gap can strengthen products’ accuracy, especially if researchers would choose to investigate policymaking in government departments, retail outlets, and civil society actors. Another drawback of the studies is the emphasis on national-level policies, which implies the findings may not reflect reactions from individuals at provincial and local levels.


Kwon, JM., 2019, ‘A multi-country survey of public support for food policies to promote healthy

diets: Findings from the International Food Policy Study,’ BMC Public Health, Vol. 19, Iss. 1205, pp. 2-9.

Sacchi, G., et al., 2018, ‘A Multi-Actor Literature Review on Alternative and Sustainable Food

Systems for the Promotion of Cereal Biodiversity’, Agriculture, Vol. 8, Iss. 173, pp. 2-29.

Thow, AM., et al., 2018, ‘Improving policy coherence for food security and nutrition in South

Africa: a qualitative policy analysis’, Food Security, Vol. 10, pp. 1105–1130.