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Research and innovation
News article28 June 2023Directorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

Make sustainable and healthy food the easy choice, says the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

Today, the EU Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) releases its evidence review report and policy recommendations on sustainable food consumption. Their work aims to support the preparation of the legislative framework for sustainable food systems and complement the Farm to Fork Strategy.

The SAM was asked to provide scientific advice on how to overcome the existing hurdles in the food system, such as the difficulties customers face when picking environmentally friendly items, the general lack of convenient sustainable alternatives or lack of information about a product’s sustainability. These barriers lead people into unsustainable consumption patterns and contribute to environmental deterioration while worsening social disparities.

Eric Lambin, leader of the Topic Team of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) on sustainable food consumption, said:

"The food we eat has major impacts both on our health and on our planet. Consumers should be supported in making healthy and sustainable food choices by a coherent combination of policies. Measures to make healthy and sustainable diets more affordable, to regulate product placement and advertising, and to mandate food reformulation should be used together with transparent information and education on food literacy".

Erik Mathijs, Chair of the Working Group on sustainable food consumption of the consortium of academy networks SAPEA, said:

"Food consumption is not just a process in which people make rational decisions, but it's a process of routines and even involves emotions. This is not fully taken into account in the current policies. In the food system of the future, sustainable and healthy diets must become the easy and affordable option for the consumers".

With the urgent need for change, the scientists deliver a strong advice: unburden consumers and pave the path for a future in which sustainable, nutritious food is the easy and inexpensive option.

So far, the major focus inside the EU has been on increasing the information available to consumers. However, the scientific findings indicate that this strategy alone is insufficient. Individuals' eating choices are impacted by a variety of variables other than rational thought. Food availability, personal habits and routines, cultural and traditional influences, emotional and impulsive responses, and economical and social conditions are all factors.

Europe should enable consumers to match their lifestyles with their beliefs by promoting legislation that remove obstacles to accessing sustainable options. This will help not just the environment and fight climate change, but will also address major social concerns and foster a healthy society.

Policies should address the whole food environment, anywhere where food is obtained, eaten, and discussed


The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) includes the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium, which gathers expertise from more than 100 institutions across Europe, and the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GSCA), who provide independent guidance informed by the evidence.

More Information

GCSA Scientific Opinion “Towards sustainable food consumption

Executive Summary of the Scientific Opinion

One-page Summary of the Scientific Opinion

SAPEA Evidence Review Report “Towards sustainable food consumption in the European Union"

ERCEA report: Frontier research for Food 2030


Press contact:

EC Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation


Publication date
28 June 2023
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation