The Periodic Table of Food

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Cataloguing the world’s edible species

It is estimated that there are over 200’000 edible species of food on the planet. Yet despite significant progress, there is limited scientific knowledge about what is in food. Scientists, both in public and private sectors, agree that data about the food we eat is not fully captured in most of the nutrition labels we see in our daily life.  In addition to being incomplete, this data is incredibly siloed and cannot be harnessed for public good because there is no standard nomenclature and what little data exists is not readily available. 

Having a periodic table of food will not only help better define the compounds beyond umbrella categories like “proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc.”, but will also make that data comparable across users and accessible for a variety of stakeholders who otherwise would not have access to it. The comparability alone will help accelerate data-driven insights on food composition and health for human and planetary health.

Significant knowledge gaps are also due to the diverse nature of food across the world, and of how it’s produced, stored, distributed and processed. Launched in May 2022, the Periodic Table of Food Initiative undertakes the ambitious task of cataloguing the biochemical diversity of an estimated 200k+ edible species on the planet, their various varieties and ways of production and processing.

PTFI works with a global network of partners from the food, agriculture, health and nutrition sectors, and co-creates capacity and data to build standardized platforms for food composition analysis and its resulting applications. With PTFI’s global platform, various national actors - particularly in the global South - can profile local and regional biodiverse food and contribute to improving nutrition for their communities.

Geographic Scope
Ethiopia, India and Japan
2022 - 2024
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The Periodic Table of Food drives a paradigm shift in how the world understands food. With new tools and techniques developed by a global scientific community, countries can build robust knowledge about their local diets and develop their own key messages for their citizens about food, nutrition and biodiversity for generations to come.

ptfi himachal pradesh 82 6348262464 o
hosana ethiopia 22460304534 o