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SUSFANS Report Summary

Project ID: 633692
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SUSFANS (Metrics, Models and Foresight for European Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Introduction to the project:

SUSFANS focuses on a number of core questions: How can we improve the food system of the EU, especially from the perspective of social, environmental and economic sustainability? How can we balance and encompass different views on balanced consumer diets and food and nutrition security in the EU? The research approach is built around the development of a set of metrics, models and foresight tools, which can be used to navigate through decisions on measures for achieving sustainable food and nutrition security. This approach results on a holistic, integrated and coherent vision of what entails sustainable food and nutrition security in the EU and globally. It underpins a perspective on how EU policies on farming, fishing, food and nutrition could contribute to that vision with greater efficacy than today.

How SUSFANS works:
The research work in SUSFANS is divided in three pillars, aiming at:
1) Assessing sustainable FNS in the EU using conceptual mapping and innovative metrics for the food system;
2) Modelling sustainable FNS, its outcomes and possible innovation pathways;
3) Foresight and policy guidance for European diets and food systems at large

In Pillar 1, SUSFANS is mapping the EU food system and establishes performance metrics for assessing sustainable EU food and nutrition outcomes, based on consultations with stakeholders from governments, private sector, and civil society. The framework and the metrics also address the various driving forces influencing the behavior of food system actors (producers, food chain actors and consumers) and establish a shared understanding of possible entry points to improve the food system’s performance.

Pillar 2 concentrates on models and tools for quantifying metrics on balanced and sufficient diets for EU citizens, reducing environmental impacts, competitive EU agri-food businesses and food and nutrition security in the EU and globally. In order to assess the state of FNS in the EU and its sustainability over time, models are needed to project food and nutrition supply and demand, taking into account complex market interactions and the impact of a wide array of drivers of change as well as policies on sustainability.
Models are combined in a toolbox for the quantification of diet and system scenarios.

Pillar 3 aims at foresight and policy guidance for sustainable FNS in the EU. The conceptual framework (Pillar 1) and modelling (Pillar 2) of sustainable FNS in the EU can be used to provide foresight on future pathways for EU food production and consumption.
This is done on the basis of two case studies and several EU-wide scenarios, which are determined in close collaboration with stakeholders and consider the impacts of sectors, products, trade, consumer, nutrition and health policies and/or innovations. The results are used to formulate recommendations on using the SUSFANS framework to advance evidence-based food policy on sustainable FNS in the EU.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The SUSFANS vision established in the academic literature:
The scientific perspective of the SUSFANS project has been presented at conferences and is now established in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Agricultural Systems as:

“Metrics, models and foresight for European sustainable food and nutrition security: the vision of the SUSFANS project”
Martine Rutten et al., Agricultural Systems, 2016
(will become available as an open access article)

Contribution to science policy on nutrition security and sustainable food systems in Europe (FOOD 2030) and the CGIAR:
SUSFANS has contributed to the framing of science policy on European and global food and nutrition security under the FOOD 2030 agenda and conference of the European Commission, led by DG Research & Innovation. The concepts of SUSFANS are influential in giving directions to global science agenda of the CGIAR, in particular the agenda on food systems and healthy diets in the second phase of the research program Agriculture for Health and Nutrition (A4NH), 2017-2022.

More information on project progress is available at

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress in the first 18 months of the project (April 2015 – September 2016)

Progress under the first pillar:
- Development of a framework which lays out in more detail the various food system goals and actors, their relationships and driving forces and allows to map possible intervention points for system’s change;
- Development of a scientific standard and protocol for assessing dietary adequacy nutrition surveillance for four European countries (CZ, DK, FR and IT);
- Insight into the drivers of sustainable food consumption, and into the leverage potential of push and pull factors in help changing current European diets;
- Improved understanding of incentives within the food industry and food value chains to support health and sustainability benefits.
- An overview of the European food system and of the drivers of a more sustainable primary production of crops, livestock and fish in Europe
- A preliminary set of metrics to assess the performance of the EU food system with respect to various sustainability goals.

Progress under the second pillar:
- Development of an operational plan for a methods and models toolbox. One core feature of the plan is to indicate where models need to be improved to better answer the questions on healthy and sustainable diets and food systems.
- Design of a portfolio approach for quantifying metrics in the framework of assessing European sustainable FNS within the global context.
- A preliminary sketch a consistent framework for assessing FNS in the short run (adequacy of current diets, stability of the market), medium run (scaling up existing innovations, implementing policy reform) and long run (transformation pathways in diets and food systems).

Progress under the third pillar:
- A justification has been prepared for case studies on livestock-fish and fruit-vegetables, on the basis of literature review, suggestions from the first meeting of the stakeholder core group and further stakeholder input.
- A review of existing scenarios for food and nutrition security has been prepared that includes scenario material from FOODSECURE, TRANSMANGO, AgClim50 and other projects.

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