Cost of food: an increasing barrier for Europeans to eat sustainable food

Posted on May, 22 2023

The cost of food has become a major source of anxiety for Europeans - even above the cost of housing.
In 2023 WWF commissioned its third survey in 12 countries in Europe [1] to assess citizens’ perceptions on food and on the actions that key stakeholders could undertake to make food systems more sustainable. Particularly over the last year, rising food prices have squeezed the income of many families,  making it difficult for citizens to access good food -  food that is good for the planet but also for their own health.

This year’s survey shows that European consumers wish to transition to more sustainable and healthy diets, including through increased sourcing of good food from manufacturers, retailers and canteens, and through more affordable prices. 

As previous surveys have illustrated, citizens think that sustainable food should cost less or at least not more than food that is not environmentally friendly.  WWF believes that the price of food should take into consideration the benefits or negative impacts that food brings to nature, the climate and to our health, thus making sustainable and healthy diets more affordable and accessible.

[1] WWF commissioned a survey in 2023 in 11 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Poland) plus the UK, as part of the third wave of its Eat4Change project.  
Europeans want to transition to sustainable and healthy diets but they cannot afford it.
© Canva