Acknowledge the Elephant in the Room: The Role of Power Dynamics in Transforming Food Systems; Comment on “What Opportunities Exist for Making the Food Supply Nutrition Friendly? A Policy Space Analysis in Mexico”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Department of Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK

2 World Public Health Nutrition Association, Peacehaven, UK

3 Faculty of Public Health & Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

4 College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK


A paradigm shift is required to transform food systems, so they are more equitable, environmentally friendly, and healthy. This requires acknowledging which factors change or maintain the status quo. In this commentary, we reflect upon the Cervantes et al study findings and discuss the role of power dynamics in transforming food systems. This is directly relevant to Mexico in terms of (i) relationships between food system actors; (ii) the role of socio-economic political context; and (iii) opportunities for policy coherence and transformative food systems approaches. We suggest that the power dynamics that drive the food produced, sold, and consumed should be recognised in all (inter)national governance decision-making. The 2021 United Nations Food System Summit – when interest groups were perceived to overly influence the summit proceedings – is an example of how neglecting the role of power dynamics can undermine and slow food system transformation.


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Volume 11, Issue 12
December 2022
Pages 3137-3140
  • Receive Date: 11 May 2022
  • Revise Date: 06 July 2022
  • Accept Date: 11 July 2022
  • First Publish Date: 12 July 2022