Accurate data on individual consumption in low-income countries remains scarce and underutilized due to the perceived high cost and the complexity of collecting and analyzing it. The International Dietary Data Expansion (INDDEX) Project seeks to overcome these bottlenecks by leveraging innovative technology and existing data to streamline dietary data collection and use. The INDDEX Project also works to strengthen institutions and demonstrate the policy relevance of better food consumption data through new metrics and analytical processes that address pressing policy questions. Launched in January 2015, the INDDEX Project is led by Dr. Jennifer Coates at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and is implemented in close partnership with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Food Policy Research Institute, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The U.N. Sustainable Development Goal Two is to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” The INDDEX Project intends to help reach this goal by enabling critical, timely information on people’s current dietary habits to advance more effective national food and nutrition policies. The INDDEX Project aims to achieve its goals through a set of four interrelated objectives:
- Develop technologies to standardize the collection and analysis of individual level food consumption data
- Improve design and use of food data collected in national household consumption and expenditure surveys
- Demonstrate how to appropriately use indicators from collected data
- Create guidance and other capacity strengthening measures to communicate critical information to stakeholders globally
Upon completion, the INDDEX Project will have developed tools and guidance that will be made widely accessible to the international community to further strengthen the international response to global hunger and food security needs.