The imbalances in food systems exist and are propagated by multiple factors, including food availability- having sufficient quantities of food through local production or import, including food aid. Food production has focused mainly on staple grains like (maize, rice and wheat), yet most national food-based dietary guidelines recommend the consumption of more fruits, vegetable nuts, and whole grains.
This prioritization of the staples then creates an imbalance in healthier non-staples. Natural resources, ecosystems and climate change also affect food production, affecting the quality and quantity of food available to consumers. At the same time, the type of food produced is also influenced by consumer choices and demands, which can increase pressure on the ecosystem and contribute to climate change. Evidence has shown that animal source foods for instance, increase the production of greenhouse gases.
Similarly, producing fruits and vegetables, staple grains, and intensive use of cropland and freshwater creates environmental stress. Use of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers can also affect the quality of food. Unfortunately, the effects of production and consumption practices are mostly felt in low-income countries where resources to adapt fast enough to environmental changes are limited, as are their options for accessing healthy food.