Sustainable Nutrition Initiative

What is DELTA?

The DELTA Model is a global food system mass balance that uses information about current production of major food items to predict the nutrition available to the average global citizen both now and in the future. Food production information is taken from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Balance Sheets and combined with food composition data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central.

The model lets the user adjust the level of different food groups to see the impact of these changes on human nutrition.

SNI - Sustainable Nutrition Initiative Screenshot

Future versions of the model will include estimates of the impacts of the selected food system design on land use, greenhouse gas production, and other resource constraints.

Why use DELTA?

A challenge we face is our ability to sustainably nourish an increasing global population without exceeding the capacity of the planet. There are many different ways of approaching how we might achieve this, and many suggestions for what the answer may be.

The DELTA model has been developed to help people explore this challenge themselves by manipulating the major components of the food system to see the impact on the supply of key nutrients.

How to use DELTA

The main settings of the model are found by selecting ‘Explore the Future’ from the menu. The side-panel on the left contains the user adjustable settings.

  • Scenario Options contains high level scenario settings and enables the user to switch between predefined food system options
  • Primary Production contains the annual production of each of the food product groups in millions of tonnes
  • Secondary Modifiers contains a range of other model options for the user to select

Core Engine

The core of DELTA is a model that allows the user to modify to primary production of classes of food commodities contained within the FAO food balance sheets and view the impact on the nutrition available to the average global citizen.

This image describes the Delta Model and it's components as a workflow
The Delta Model generates viable outcomes from complex initial scenarios.