Unveiling foodsystems: building a holistic set of metrics to assess food security in the EU food system based on stakeholder consultation

Unveiling foodsystems: building a holistic set of metrics to assess food security in the EU food system based on stakeholder consultation

One of the main objectives of the SUSFANS project is to develop a set of concepts and tools to help policy and decision makers across Europe make sense of the outcomes and trends of the EU food system.

SUSFANS researcher now propose a set of metrics for assessing the performance of the EU food system in delivering sustainable food and nutrition security. The performance metrics have been built up through the aggregation of a wide range of variables. Together they help to monitor the achievement of four overarching policy goals for the EU food system, namely a balanced diet for EU citizens, reduced environmental impacts, competitive agri-food businesses and equitable outcomes of the food system.

The project decided to take a hierarchical approach to aggregating from Individual Variables to Derived Variables to Aggregate Indicators to Performance Metrics. This approach aims at marrying the notion that decision makers want only a small but powerful set of metrics to communicate the findings of the assessment, with the need to substantiate these metrics with the best available data from a large number of sources in a transparent way. In a new deliverable, the current set up of the performance metrics focus on each individual policy goal.

In a related report, the team explores if and how the performance metrics presented here can be quantified using available data and modelling tools, and which of the models of the SUSFANS tool box can estimate which ones of the performance metrics and how.

In a final step the SUSFANS team will bring all performance metrics together in an integrated set that will allow a view across all four policy goals and thus across all aspects of sustainable food and nutrition security (forthcoming report D1.5). Further work is the quantification of metrics using case studies and prospective scenario analysis. In addition to their use for monitoring, the proposed metrics are geared towards quantification using selected computational modelling tools.

As such, SUSFANS aims to assist in foresight on and the evaluation of transformative changes in the food system with rigour and consistency.