Nutrition Smart Cities: ‘BINDI’ Birmingham India Nutrition Initiative

The Food Foundation are facilitating a learning partnership between Birmingham, UK and Pune, India which involves the development of policies and practices as part of a ‘Food Smart City’ initiative. Food Smart Cities use data and technology to change the way that food is produced, processed, distributed and consumed. Birmingham and Pune have a common ambition to seize opportunities to support safer, healthier and more sustainable city food environments which prevent malnutrition in all its forms (overweight, obesity, micronutrient deficiencies and undernutrition). The focus of the partnership is on policies regarding food prepared out of the home – to encourage that food which is available and promoted is safe, nutritious, affordable and procured in a manner which supports environmental sustainability and local economic development.

The partnership was launched through events in Birmingham and Pune. In the first 18-month phase, the Food Foundation is working with local authorities in both cities to design the partnership, based on citizen engagement and evidence from elsewhere around the globe. A platform is being created to enable joint learning, experience sharing and piloting of specific initiatives.

We have produced Situational Analysis Reports for both Birmingham and Pune which compile secondary data on the nutrition situation in both cities to inform the partnership. We have also produced a Case Study Report of other smart food and nutrition initiatives which have taken place elsewhere to inspire the local authorities in Birmingham and Pune.

We are now implementing our citizen engagement plans to understand households’ out of home eating behaviours and the extent to which they support healthy or unhealthy diets. We are also consulting citizens on possible policy options to support healthy and safe eating out of the home.

The initiative aligns with Sustainable Development Goals 2, 5 and 12 and the Smart City movement. Birmingham and Pune will work together to establish ‘Smart Nutrition’ as a key topic on the Smart City agenda.

The initiative is led by the Food Foundation and funded by the Tata Trusts and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through its Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) project. MQSUN+ provides technical expertise in multisectoral nutrition policy and programming to DFID and Scaling Up Nutrition countries.