Posted on 20 October 2022
A majority of consumers consider that the EU should help them make more environmentally friendly and healthier food choices.
As prices go through the roof and sustainable food is increasingly out of people’s reach, Europeans feel that it is time for our food systems to be changed. According to a new survey, 76% of European consumers think that their governments should make environmentally friendly food cheaper and half would even agree to make unsustainable food products more expensive.
Commissioned by WWF
, the survey shows that 4 in 5 Europeans consider that their governments and the EU should make new rules and provide financial support to help consumers make more sustainable food choices. In their view, governments should particularly target public canteens, schools, grocery shops, food manufacturers and farmers.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Giulia Riedo, Agriculture and Food Systems Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office said
: “Europeans want change, but unless our governments and the EU take action, families will continue to struggle to access sustainable, healthy food - let alone afford it! Rising inflation has exposed the shortcomings of our food systems and the EU’s dependence on imported agricultural inputs. The upcoming EU Sustainable Food System Law is the one and only opportunity in sight to address these problems.”
According to the survey, 73% of
Europeans think that policy-makers at national and EU levels should take action to prevent food shortages, primarily by incentivising the consumption of local products and slashing food waste. In addition, almost half of respondents feel that the EU should encourage people to eat fewer animal products (48%) and reduce the use of cropland for feed production (46%). Currently, the EU produces more animal products than is recommended for our health
and more than half of the grain crops we grow are fed to animals.
Citizens also believe that governments should address the powerful influence of food advertisements on eating habits. Around half of Europeans (57%) agree that public funds should not be used to advertise unhealthy and/or unsustainable food, and more than a third (36%) would go as far as completely banning these adverts. Currently, unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly diets cause
a whopping 2.7 million deaths in Europe each year.
The European Commission is working on an EU legislative framework for sustainable food systems for late 2023
. This law, which is part of the Farm to Fork Strategy, aims to integrate sustainability into all food-related policies, while addressing the links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet.
“The best option for our planet and health should also be the most accessible. Food is our source of life and how we produce and consume it has a tremendous impact on the climate and on biodiversity - and citizens are increasingly aware of this. Rethinking and transforming our food systems should be a top priority of the EU policy agenda,” concluded Giulia Riedo
Agriculture & Sustainable Food Policy Officer
Senior Communications Officer, Deforestation & Food
+32 488 84 98 05