7: Conclusion: Continuities in Change and Lost Opportunities

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This chapter recapitulates the main arguments and empirical findings, highlighting the striking continuity of the unsustainable industrial food system in an era of global warming and existential crises for humanity. The innovations analysed in this book, including PA, alternative proteins, gene editing, and home food delivery platforms, are easily accommodated in this hegemonic system. In short, the wave of innovation represents evolutionary rather than radical change.

The counterpart of this central continuity is the lack of progress towards a broadly-based sustainability transition.

This impasse is reflected in the deeply entrenched power structures that thwarted hopes of reaching a progressive compromise at the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. This summit was an uninspiring prelude to the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26), which generated a range of nonbinding commitments but few concrete measures to mitigate climate change.

A postscript briefly discusses the repercussions of the renewed Russia–Ukraine war on food security and health as food and fuel price inflation accelerate on a global scale, threatening international economic recession.

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