Towards sustainable food consumption


How can the European Union overcome the barriers that are preventing consumers from eating in a healthier and more sustainable way? This is the question addressed by the European Commission to the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and answered in its Scientific Opinion released on 28 June. This opinion was informed by an evidence review report provided by a working group of top European scientists which highlights the need to adopt a more plant-based diet, to eat fish and seafood from sustainable sources and to reduce consumption of meat, processed meat, salt, added sugar and high-fat animal products.

According to the group of experts, that will require a mix of interventions:

  • Ensure coherence between new and existing EU interventions that influence the food system, striving for a shared long-term vision.
  • Price food and drink products according to their environmental and health impacts by reviewing taxes and subsidy schemes.
  • Define and communicate EU-wide and national-scale time-bound goals for healthy and sustainable consumption.
  • Increase consumer awareness with adequate and trusted information and improve food literacy education.
  • Include sustainability criteria in national dietary guidelines.
  • Improve the availability, visibility and accessibility of healthy and sustainable food.
  • Restrict EU imports of food commodities from places where food production causes major environmental damage, such as fish and other seafood that is sourced from unsustainably managed stocks.

Their work aims to support the preparation of the legislative framework for sustainable food systems and complement the Farm to Fork Strategy.