The European Farm to Fork Strategy
The “Farm to Fork” strategy is part of the European Green Deal. The strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly.
The construction of the strategy
An environmentally friendly food system helps accelerate the sustainability transition. This is a system that (i) has a neutral or positive impact on the environment, (ii) helps to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, (iii) helps to restore biodiversity loss, (iv) ensures food security, nutrition and public health to ensure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and sustainable food, and (v) at the same time keeps food affordable by promoting competition among organic farmers.
The Farm to Fork strategy represents the overall European approach to providing quality sustainable food. It is holistic in the sense that it encompasses lifestyle, public health and the environment and thus focuses on the future of the European food system. The strategy itself is made up of sub-components.
I: Shaping a food supply chain that works for consumers, products, the climate and the environment
That in itself can be classified into:
- Sustainable food production
- Sustainable food processing and distribution
- Sustainable food consumption
- Prevention of food wastage and waste
II: Enabling the sustainability transition
III: Advancing the global sustainability transition
Sustainable food production
Sustainable food production requires making every link in the food chain more sustainable. The strategy motivates food producers to adapt their production methods more quickly to the sustainability transition. The acceleration involves the use of technology, digital solutions and nature-based solutions, among others. Examples include the advanced techniques used in bioresidue plants, which use organic fertilisers, bioenergy and biochemicals, and protein animal feeds.
Sustainable food production must allow people to eat a sufficient, varied, safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable diet at all times. Food security involves the management of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to guarantee the food supply during crises, the European Commission draws up an emergency plan.
Sustainable food consumption
In addition to sustainable food production, sustainable food consumption is also of great importance. The goal is to reverse the trend of increasing intake of red meat, sugars, salt and fats in the European Union by 2030. The provision of clear information plays an important role in this respect, so that citizens can make an informed, healthy and sustainable food choice. In addition, the availability and price of food are important factors in that choice. That is why the European Commission focuses on rules for food labels, an expansion of compulsory origin labelling and will establish compulsory minimum criteria for the sustainable purchase of food. Finally, the European Commission mentions tax incentives as one component of the sustainability transition, whereby VAT rates can be made more favourable specifically for sustainable products.
Preventing food waste
Reducing and preventing food waste is essential in the sustainability transition. Less wastage means more savings for producers, consumers and operators alike. More savings creates food surpluses, which in turn can be redistributed. The European Commission will also integrate the rules in other EU policies.
See, inter alia, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, A farm-to-fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.