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Far-reaching analysis of the performance of local and global food chains

Consumers are increasingly aware that the type of food they choose to buy and where it comes from impacts their health, the environment, local economies and societies. An EU initiative analysed global and local food supply systems and their performance.

Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies
Society
Food and Natural Resources

The growing demand for local foods has boosted regional production of goods, and this has begun to challenge and even displace global food chains. Despite new research and related policies, food chains remain quite complex. This can lead to inaccuracies, misinformation and incomplete data. The EU-funded GLAMUR (Global and local food chain assessment: A multidimensional performance-based approach) project integrated various dimensions associated with the production and consumption of food into comprehensive tools that examine, assess and compare global and local food chains. Project partners examined how the performance of sustainable food chains varied on global and local scales. They studied the economic, environmental, health, social and ethical factors of commodities, namely apples, berries, grain, pork, cheese, wine, tomatoes and asparagus. Global and local food chains in public procurement were also investigated. A series of case studies mapped and analysed how impacts were generated within specific food chains at global, regional and local levels. Key attributes were identified for each commodity using a specially designed multi-criteria performance matrix. Researchers developed indicators to analyse the political, legislative and geographical factors that influence the performance of the indicators. This helped to assess the sustainability performance levels of chains in each country. The GLAMUR team then compared and contrasted the economic, environmental, health, social and ethical impacts of various food chains in different countries. A policy analysis report fed into a series of recommendations. These strategic policy documents assess the role of EU and global public and private policies on global and local food chains. They also identify key policy and governance drivers of both food chains and their various impacts. GLAMUR took a holistic approach to the intricacies of food chains. It envisions sustainable food chains that will lead to responsible business and more informed and satisfied consumers.

Keywords

Food chains, GLAMUR, food chain assessment

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