In its publication on “Food Sustainability – The Consumer Perspective”, the European Consumer Organization BEUC addresses the importance of sustainable food systems. In the context of the European Union’s Consumer Program 2014-2020, the report calls for political action to make sustainable food choices more accessible and affordable for consumers. Future challenges for food production systems result from a growing world population and an increased demand for food as well as the adverse effects of climate change on the availability, price and quality of food and related resources. In this regard, BEUC proposes the following to promote food sustainability:
- Raise consumer awareness: The more consumers are aware about how their food is produced, the stronger their preferences to consume sustainable food.
- Make it an easy choice: Consumer decisions for and access to healthy and sustainable food products can be improved by increasing the availability and range of sustainable products at affordable prices.
- Improve consumer information: Consumers need to be provided with standardized and comparable information capturing relevant food sustainability aspects. To this end, the overload of eco-friendly food labels should be reduced and food labels need to be understandable, comparable, reliable and user-tested.
- Make food production more sustainable: Integrate sustainability elements in the food production, to relieve the burden to choose green products from consumers. Instead, all producers should have to comply with minimum legal requirements on sustainability.
- Reduce food waste: It is crucial to encourage the cooperation between all stakeholders from farm to fork. Improving food packaging, date labeling and consumer information about how to correctly store food and how to manage leftovers can help to significantly reduce food waste.