AgriNovus, Purdue partner on food insecurity
AgriNovus Indiana and Purdue University have released the results of a new study that examined the use of new technologies to help eliminate food insecurity. The study, which was conducted by the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability at Purdue, coincides with the launch of AgriNovus’ 2023 HungerTech Challenge.
The research identified factors contributing to food insecurity, populations most widely affected and recommendations for private sector innovation to help hungry populations.
“Food insecurity continues to affect targeted populations in Indiana and beyond,” said Dr. Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and department head of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. “With its strength in tech and ag, Indiana is well positioned to develop private-sector innovations that continue to chip away at this pervasive issue that deters better health outcomes for all.”
The study revealed several areas in which private sector innovation could help eliminate food insecurity:
- Develop innovative food access solutions for targeted populations, including low income, minority and older populations in rural areas.
- Develop technology solutions that can help consumers make sense of the healthfulness and affordability of products, as product labeling may be too confusing for some consumers.
- Increase the availability of healthy and affordable food options in low-income communities through food assistance programs like food hubs, farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA).
- Use data and research insights to help companies and nonprofit organizations understand food business practices and product offerings and whether specific programs are reliably helping to promote food security and improve health outcomes.
AgriNovus launched the HungerTech Challenge last year. It tasked innovators with creating and implementing technologies to improve access to nutrition for food-insecure Americans who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Bloomington-based Civic Champs won top honors last year.
This year’s challenge looks to discover a tech-enabled business solution that connects food insecure populations to for-profit and not-for-profit food networks.
“Combatting food insecurity requires a portfolio of solutions, and it’s clear that innovation presents tremendous opportunity to unlock new ability to better connect food supply with food demand,” said Mitch Frazier, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana.
AgriNovus says food insecurity in Indiana rose from 9.4% in May 2020 to 13.4% in December 2022. The nonprofit says the factors contributing to food insecurity are complex and interrelated, including poverty, unemployment, low wages, limited access to healthy and affordable food, broadband connectivity and the high cost of housing, transportation and health care.