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Publication | 29 April 2020

Scientific opinion – Sustainable food system (March 2020)


The EU food system has achieved high levels of food security, food safety and a wide consumer choice, but is currently not sustainable with respect to the environmental, economic and social aspects. Continuing with ‘business as usual’ will significantly endanger natural resources, our health, the climate, and the economy. The European Commission’s ‘Green Deal’ – with the forthcoming ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy as one of its main pillars – are therefore welcome steps, with their objectives to develop a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.There is broad scientific consensus on what is needed to achieve a sustainable food system. This includes increasing or maintaining agricultural yields and efficiency while decreasing the environmental burden on biodiversity, soils, water and air; reducing food loss and waste; and stimulating dietary changes towards healthier and less resource-intensive diets.However, previous scientific advice has not adequately addressed the question of howto achieve a sustainable food system, and has not fully considered how the social sciences could be used to bring about a more sustainable food system. Hence, this Scientific Opinion focuses on the ‘how’ question, drawing evidence mainly from social sciences.