Developing a Better Understanding of Public Private Partnerships for Nutrition: Towards the Next Generation of PPP Models

The Challenge

Ensuring that all people have access to nutritious food is a goal that requires the collaboration of many actors working across different sectors. Yet it can be difficult to make progress on nutrition goals through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). This is partly due to the complexity of nutrition problems: resolving them requires collaboration between multiple sectors and stakeholders. There need to be clear incentives for these parties to work together.

In addition, challenging relationships between stakeholders can make it hard to establish successful PPPs. Those in the nutrition community do not always agree on what interventions and strategies should take priority. Some believe that engaging with the private sector is inadvisable. In turn, the behavior of some private sector actors contribute to these views.


This project examines how Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) can advance the goals of both public health nutrition and business. The nutrition field is divided over whether PPPs are effective. PPPs can bring together government and the private sector to accomplish goals that neither could achieve on their own. However, there is also great distrust of the private sector by those who think businesses contribute to nutrition and health problems in their pursuit of profit.

Much of the research on PPP nutrition focuses on the negative influence of private sector actors. Yet many other sectors have been successful in developing PPPs. Why does the nutrition field struggle to engage and work with the private sector? What limits the development and success of PPPs in this field?

Goals of the Project

This project aims to identify factors that shape the formation and development of nutrition-centered Public Private Partnerships. The project team highlights the challenges and successes of nutrition PPPs. By understanding how to develop nutrition PPPs and enhance their effectiveness, we can move towards more meaningful partnerships and avoid the mistakes of the past, which have left many questioning the validity of the PPP approach for nutrition.

Project Team

The project is a collaboration between Drs. Jessica Fanzo, Jeremy Shiffman, Yusra Ribhi Shawar, Tara Shyam, and Shreya Das, professors and affiliates of The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Berman Institute of Bioethics.