More often than not, investors are invested in some part of the food chain.And because of this they have occasionally found themselves in the dock accused of hiking up food prices through food-related commodity speculation - although research on this remains inconclusive.

And yet, they have also been encouraged to commit more capital to the agricultural and food production sector to help satisfy the rising demand for food, which is a result of ever-growing populations and rising incomes.

The food industry itself faces many challenges. Climate change - which contributes to droughts and floods - affects harvests and has led to food scarcity in parts of the world. A lack of arable land - partially caused by competition from biofuels and animal feeds, water stress, food safety, biodiversity, carbon emissions, the sourcing of raw materials and supply-chain labour - is also crucial to companies in the food and beverage sector.
However, due to staggering obesity rates worldwide, the onus for investors is on the nutritional side of food production.

There has been a shift among consumers towards choosing healthier and more nutritional food products. Food and drinks manufacturers have to adapt to those changes in order to survive.

Investors can help make an investment case for nutrition and reduce the risks associated with investments in companies that make less healthy food, such as stricter regulation, litigation, and reputational damage, as well as taxes on foods that are perceived to be unhealthy.

Opportunities can be found in areas benefiting from the shift in consumer behaviour, such as in organic and natural foods, healthier food, weight-control products and fortified or functional products because companies that address nutrition might expect to see strong growth rates.

But currently only the companies with the largest balance sheets show the largest appetite for improving the nutritional quality of their products.

Above all, investors need to engage with the mid-cap players, which often do not have the capital required to either move away from unhealthier products or to improve the nutritional profile of their existing products.

In short, it is time to put food on the investor table.