Sustainable food made easy

Demands of the European Consumer Organization BEUC on the EU initiative on sustainable food systems

  • The European Commission plans to present a legal framework for a sustainable food system by the end of 2023.
  • BEUC - the European umbrella organisation of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) - has published a position paper on this initiative.
  • BEUC proposes measures to make healthy and sustainable nutrition easier
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Credit: puhimec - adobestock.de

In its Farm-to-Fork strategy, the European Commission has announced to publish a legal framework for a sustainable food system by the end of 2023: the Sustainable Food System Framework. BEUC - the European umbrella organisation of vzbv - has now called on the Commission to use this initiative to make healthy and sustainable diets easier for consumers in their everyday life - and has recommended measures to this end.

The current food and farming system often has negative impacts on the environment, animal welfare and human health. BEUC proposes, among others, the following measures to initiate the necessary transformation of our food system:

Shape nutrition environments 
  • Only foods that meet the World Health Organisation's nutritional criteria should be allowed to be marketed to children.

  • Food prices should reflect the true costs of the food. Therefore, in the long term, BEUC calls for the introduction of an accounting of environmental, social, and health impacts, the “true cost accounting“.

  • Reducing VAT on fruit, vegetables and pulses can provide an incentive for a climate-friendly and healthy diet.

  • National social systems should be designed to provide access to healthy and sustainable diets for everyone

More transparency for healthy and sustainable diets
  • Introduction of a reliable sustainability label. This should make it easier to compare different foods within a product category (such as meat).

  • BEUC calls for clear nutritional labelling on the front of all products to make it easier for consumers to buy healthy foods. BEUC therefore supports the introduction of the EU-wide mandatory Nutri-Score.

  • Genome edited food must still be labelled as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) to allow consumers freedom of choice.

Transition to sustainable diets at all levels
  • To ensure that the transition to sustainable diets reaches Member States, multi-year nutrition strategies with concrete measures should be adopted at national level. The nutrition strategy currently being developed by the German government is an important complement to the EU initiative.

  • In order to support the transition to a sustainable healthy diet, BEUC calls on Member States to update the national dietary recommendations and to add sustainability criteria.

Make sustainability the standard
  • The European Commission should set new minimum requirements for sustainable food products. The EU initiative for sustainable food systems should result in binding measures. The urgently needed transformation will not succeed with voluntary commitments alone.

Download and further information

BEUC-X-2022-108 Sustainable Food Made Easy

Sustainable Food Made Easy

The consumer perspective on the EU Sustainable Food System Framework initiative | BEUC | October 2022

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Credit: BEUC

Further information

Go to BEUC's "Food" overview page.

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