Futura Food conducts research projects and applies their unique knowledge toward increasing sustainability, enhancing nutrition, and bridging the gap between nutrition and agriculture through innovative nutrition-sensitive agriculture viewpoints. Read some of our success stories below.

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Futura Food invents qCal-n:  a new unit of measure for nutrition

Futura Food co-founders Jeremy Zidek and Lamis Jomaa have collaborated to invent a new unit of measure for nutrition called the quality kilocalorie (qCal-n).  Food-based dietary guidelines are promoted to improve diet quality. In applying dietary recommendations, such as the USDA MyPlate, the number of servings in a food group is the unit of measure used to make food selections. However, within each food group, different foods can vary greatly in their nutritional quality despite often having similar energy (caloric) values. This study aimed to develop a novel unit of measure that accounts for both the quantity of energy and the quality of nutrients, as defined by caloric and micronutrient density, respectively, in foods and to demonstrate its usability in identifying high quality foods within a food group.  For more information, click on our logo above to download the full paper (cited below).

Cited work: 

Jomaa, L. H., Hwalla, N. C., & Zidek, J. M. (2016). Development of a standardized measure to assess food quality: a proof of concept. Nutrition journal, 15(1), 96.


A forecasting tool for more accurate weed herbicide applications

A few years ago, researchers at the University of Tennessee found that the timing of postemergence herbicide applications is a critical factor when estimating the sensitivity of dallisgrass and bermudagrass. The researchers realized the importance of weather data in the two research projects and teams up with Futura Food president Jeremy Zidek to combine weather data and meteorological expertise into the application timing, thus offering increased control (see references below). Now, the University of Tennessee (UT) Institute of Agriculture is teaming up again with Futura Food and web development company Modern Tymes ( to build a forecasting system to help green industry professions, golf courses, homeowners, and others time herbicide applications appropriately based on local weather conditions. The UT team is led by Dr. Jim Brosnan (Twitter: @UTturfweeds), associate professor and leader of their new Weed Diagnostic Center. Click the button below for more from UT, and check back often for more updates and news as the 2017 season nears.

Cited work:
1.) Brosnan, J. T., Breeden, G. K., Elmore, M. T., & Zidek, J. M. (2010). Early and Late Postemergence Control of Dallisgrass in Tall Fescue. Applied Turfgrass Science, 7(1), 0-0.

2.) Brosnan, J. T., Breeden, G. K., Elmore, M. T., & Zidek, J. M. (2011). Application timing affects bermudagrass suppression with mixtures of fluazifop and triclopyr. Weed Technology, 25(4), 591-597.


Mapping dietary patterns to environmental sustainability in Lebanon

Futura Food has teamed up with the American University of Beirut (AUB) to assess which dietary patterns are the most sustainable. The work builds on previous work conducted by AUB's Dr. Farah Naja, who previously found that the western dietary pattern was more likely to cause obesity and subsequently higher risks of associated health issues. Three dietary patterns, including the Western, Lebanese Mediterranean, and High Protein will be assessed for their environmental sustainability through life cycle analyses of over 60 food items. The aim of the study is to see if there is a significant difference in the dietary pattern and its impact on the environment. Results will be tested against data on foods consumed by individuals in Lebanon to provide a socioeconomic context as well. Check back often for updates including presentations, publications, and other news as the project continues.

Cited work:

Naja, F., Jomaa, L., Itani, L., Zidek, J., El Labban, S., Sibai, A. M., & Hwalla, N. (2018). Environmental footprints of food consumption and dietary patterns among Lebanese adults: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition journal, 17(1), 85.

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Assessing the role of PPP and South-South cooperation on agriculture and food security

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSCC), based in Istanbul, Turkey and under the UNDP, has long been concerned with both the challenges and potential of South-South partnerships on development.  Of particular interest is development in the agriculture sector, which is both a large employer and offers a potential pathway to improve livelihoods of rural populations.  In 2015, the South-South and Triangular Cooperation for enhanced Agricultural Development and Food Security (SSTC-ADFS) initiative was launched in 9 countries from the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region and the Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS) regions.  Participating countries include Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia from the Arab States and Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan from the ECIS region.  By focusing on all aspects of the agriculture value chain, the initiative aims to increase agricultural development and food security through sharing of knowledge, resources, and technical expertise using South-South and Triangular Cooperation.  The initiative assists and addresses national priorities through a demand-driven participatory approach at both the planning and implementation stages.  With its expertise in the agriculture sector, Futura Food has been tasked with assessing the impact of this initiative, particularly with regard to public-private-partnership (PPP) as a modality of development.  Once completed, Futura Food will develop a report for the UNDP on this valuable initiative.  Check back often for access to the report once it is completed and published by the UN.  UPDATE:  Please go here to download the published report.