Hidden Hunger bookcover

Hidden Hunger by Aya H. Kimura, associate professor from the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, received the 2014 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award. The book explores the politics behind the international food policy community’s recent emphasis on micronutrients and smart foods, and the exclusion of public participation, particularly from women, in the making of public health and food policy.

In the 1990s, micronutrient deficiencies or “hidden hunger” became a hot topic in the international food policy community as it attempted to address world hunger in developing countries. These discussions resulted in the trumpeting of fortification, the addition of nutrients to processed foods, and biofortification, the alteration of crops to increase nutritional value, as two innovative and cost-effective solutions.

Through an analysis of case studies of three food commodities (rice, wheat flour and baby food), Kimura offers readers a context for understanding how science, market forces and gender ideology intersected and defined the plight of women as passive, pre-determined victims rather than active agents capable of participating in food policy formation.

Kimura, who holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Yale University and PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined the UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences in 2007 as part of the women’s studies program. Her specialties include: women, health and development; sociology of nutrition, body and food; technoscience and sustainability; agrofood systems and East and Southeast Asian societies.

The Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award is an annual award by the Rural Sociological Society. It recognizes outstanding scholarship in the form of a book that demonstrates excellence in scholarly work in the same spirit as that exemplified by the late Fred Buttel, a prominent scholar of sociology of agriculture and environmental sociology.