Bite the Talk - Podcast Series

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

'Bite the Talk' will strongly focus on the many ramifications of malnutrition that are linked to food systems. This podcast series will bring to the table thought leaders in food and nutrition commenting on the most pressing global issues impacting our food systems, economics, politics, and society.

All Episodes

In September this year, the first ever United Nations Food Systems Summit will be convened – a historic moment for centring food in many critical issues facing people all over our planet today: from hunger and malnutrition; to environment and nature; to livelihoods and human rights; to resilience to shocks and stresses like COVID-19 and the climate emergency.On the occasion of the United Nations Food Systems Summit Pre-Summit taking place in Rome (July 26th to 28th), we talked to GAIN’s Executive Director and lead of the UNFSS Action Track 1 – Dr Lawrence Haddad – about his impressions of this 'People's Summit'; about the challenges and rewards of inclusivity; and heard more about the action coalitions emerging in advance of the historical Summit scheduled for September.  It's been half a year since we heard from Lawrence on this subject, and a lot of progress has been made. He reflects on his impressions so far, as well as sharing some insights into three exciting emerging coalitions around a) Achieving Zero Hunger, b) Food Safety, and c) Healthy diets from sustainable food systems.  Lawrence shares his hopes for the pre-summit, particularly for Member States and for the Private Sector, and reflects on what it means for GAIN as an organisation, where a lot of energy and effort has been invested in engaging with these multistakeholder processes in preparation for the Summit.Tune in to Episode 10 Sprinting through the super year and preparing for the marathon to 2030 to find out how can we all change food systems. As Lawrence says, "we cannot do just one thing to change systems – and we all have a responsibility". 

Jul 27

23 min 10 sec

Cities play a crucial role in shaping food systems. Through the implementation of policies and actions, urban governments can help define what foods are available on the market and at what cost. Having policies that support the availability and affordability of food is increasingly critical as more than 50% of the global population live in cities, with this number expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Cities, however, can rely on rural agriculture and imports to source their food and are quite vulnerable to change. In this podcast episode, we dive into the perspective of urban governments, their role and their opportunity to shape city food systems. Today we chat with experts Panayota Nicolarea, Senior Advisor at the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), Jess Halliday, Associate of the RUAF Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems, and Sharelle Polack, Programme Lead for the Urban Governance for Nutrition Programme at GAIN. These experts share with us an important platform that will help urban governments with their policy decision making through learning from the experiences of other cities. To learn more about the platform, go to 

Jun 30

18 min 59 sec

We have witnessed much progress on reducing chronic hunger and malnutrition at global level over the past two decades. The progress, however, was not as quick as hoped, to achieve the World Health Assembly Targets, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic, now risks reversing the progress made. This episode of Bite the Talk - "Raising the alarm on COVID-19 and malnutrition" focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving malnutrition in all its forms – and what can be done about it. While the pandemic continues to unfold, there is an urgent need to address the alarming projections modelled by the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium. In their most recent paper, they warn of the 3 crises in 1 – the economic, the food systems, and health system crisis will have severe consequences on nutrition, with inaction condemning a whole generation. On this podcast episode we chat to experts and members of the STfN Coalition; Dr Anna Lartey, leading academic at the University of Ghana and former Director of Nutrition at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and our very own Dr Lynnette Neufeld, Director of Knowledge Leadership at GAIN. Both guests share their views on the possible consequences the pandemic might bring, highlighting vulnerable groups such as women and children, but also all the opportunities which arises from the pandemic, like the STFN consortium that collectively seeks to fill in the knowledge gaps in terms of malnutrition. 

Jun 17

26 min 9 sec

Food safety affects everyone - we all need to eat. However, too many people face challenges from unsafe food, and unsafe food can't nourish. Foodborne illnesses come from many different sources, and in severe cases can lead to tragic outcomes. Around 420 000 people die every year from unsafe food, while the economic losses from productivity and medical expenses run over USD 100 billion.  Food safety must be considered along the whole supply chain, including farmers, processors, retailers, and consumers - and deserves greater attention from food systems actors.  In this episode of Bite The Talk, we unpack what Food Safety means in 2021 with Bonnie McClafferty, the Food Safety lead at GAIN. Bonnie shares experiences of the EatSafe project, as well as reflections on how food safety concerns have been both linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and amplified by it.  With food safety rising up the agendas of governments, businesses, and other stakeholders, as well as new technological and policy innovations on the horizon, is there a hopeful future for safer, more nourishing food, from safe food systems? We certainly hope so.

Mar 31

25 min 40 sec

India has recently indicated its intention to mandate the national fortification of milk and edible oil and a draft regulation has been issued for public commentary in this regard. Not only is this a great step forward into improving the nutritional status of the Indian population, but it is even more important that this step has been taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. India has been making efforts to right-track its food systems, essentially with large investments to ensure access to basic micronutrient requirements to its large population through the fortification of staples. What benefits will these efforts yield?  In this episode of Bite the Talk, we embark on a conversation around India's food system transformation with Pawan Agarwal, IAS, Special Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India and Tarun Vij, GAIN India Country Director. With both guests, we navigate through India's successes and the "unfinished agenda" on the need to diversify at agricultural level, the need to identify ways to increase farmers’ income, and the need to understand how to leverage the SME culture more.Tune in to Episode 06: Food Systems Transformation – India’s Journey to find out how India has been adapting their tactics regarding food systems through research.* Podcast edit (min 15:48): "Foodborne diseases cause around 120.000 deaths per year in India" (source: World Health Organization)

Mar 17

26 min 37 sec

Tune in to Episode 05 of Bite the Talk: “When women choose to challenge”. We hear from Catherine Bertini, whose perspective on women in food systems is shaped by a lifelong experience including many pivotal personal roles.  In this episode, our guest Catherine Bertini takes us through some of her personal experiences, showing how they shaped her path to becoming the woman she is today. At an early age, Catherine heard the words "Sometimes we must let the boys win" – a short sentence that represents a reality for many. This and several other experiences have brought her to fight for gender equality throughout her career, choosing to challenge the status quo.  The roles women play within food systems are wide and varied – and increasingly recognised. Women purchase food, they are the cooks, and they are often the ones who decide what food ends up on the table. If we are to end hunger and improve nutritional outcomes in populations, it is essential to involve, engage, and learn from women in the process.  Catherine Bertini is a 2003 World Food Prize Laureate and public servant, recipient of several awards. Currently, she is a distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Chair of the Board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). She has also been named a Champion of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. In 2013, she received the Women Extraordinaire Award from the International Women Associates.

Mar 5

25 min 22 sec

As 2020 comes to an end, a difficult year for most, we have dedicated this episode not only to reflect on this year but also to celebrate the end of the year. 2020 began with a global pandemic that affected every country differently. The major health crisis had some ripple effects on the global economy, societies, and the mental state of many. Some of the pandemic effects exacerbated inequalities with the potential longer-term consequences which reminded us that much work lies ahead to bridge the gaps.While 2020 meant a crisis to most, to our guest Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), it also meant opportunity. Looking forward to next year, 2021 brings a wealth of opportunities to bring the nutrition agenda forward with important events such as the Nutrition for Growth (also known as Japan N4G) and the UN Food Systems Summit.  Tune in to Episode 04 of Bite the Talk: “Looking ahead”, an episode that takes us through a journey in time, collecting the events of this year and transforming them into opportunities with bright and optimistic lenses.

Dec 2020

29 min 54 sec

Time and time again we hear about the critical nutritional status of children and the serious consequences a poor diet can have in the future of a child. We have often talked about the first "1000 days" or the "under 5" as crucial windows of opportunity to positively impact the growth of a child by guaranteeing a healthy and diverse diet, making it a life-long difference in the child's future. While the strong correlation between a poor diet and negative health consequences of an individual is widely understood, the same question remains relevant: how can we ensure children have access to healthy and nutritious foods?In this new podcast episode, our guests Miriam Shindler, GAIN's Programme Lead on the Better Diets for Children Programme, and Abenezer Feleke, Marketing and Behaviour Communication Change Specialist, help us answer part of that question. We discuss all the different layers of complexity that need to be accounted for in their daily work in order to ensure malnutrition is not part of the picture in children's development. Tune in to Episode 03 of Bite the Talk: "A closer look into children's diets" to discover why it was necessary to shift to a food systems perspective in order to tackle malnutrition at early stages in life.

Dec 2020

29 min 51 sec

Over time, food systems have changed and adapted to attend the needs of an expanding population, mostly in urban contexts. There are increasing concerns about how the current food systems can sustain the human population in the future, specifically when 1 in 2 people do not have access to a healthy diet. So, to what extent do we have a healthy food system? In the first episode of this podcast series our guest, Steve Godfrey, Director of Policy and External Relations at GAIN, will share his thoughts on this topic, particularly in light of two big events in 2021: the UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) and the Japan Nutrition for Growth (N4G). This episode takes us through a conversation around the needs to make food systems more people- and sustainability-oriented. This is the promise of the UN Food Systems Summit next year: a “people summit”.Tune in to Episode 01 of Bite the Talk: “Do we have a healthy food system?” to discover all the challenges and opportunities lay ahead to redirecting food systems into delivering healthier and more sustainable solutions.

Nov 2020

20 min 38 sec

Food systems are under increasing pressure. In this podcast, we discuss the innovations necessary to feed the future. During the past 15 years, food fortification has become a game-changer, but progress is slow and much still needs to be done. Who will drive innovation, and more importantly, who will foot the bill?  Countries and the global community alike need to ensure that food fortification remains a priority throughout the coming decades. In this episode, we will discuss why food fortification matters, and why it is integral to contemporary food systems no matter where you live.Featured guests include Dipika Matthias, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with GAIN's Programme Lead on Large Scale Food Fortification Penjani Mkambula.

Nov 2020

23 min 58 sec