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From intention to action: Multi-stakeholder recommendations for making sustainable food consumption a reality

Arlind Xhelili; Mariana Nicolau


How can we move from attitudes and intentions to action and generate behavioural change towards more sustainable food consumption in Europe? This report helps answer this question by making recommendations to various stakeholder groups on how to support sustainable consumption of food. It draws from research and insights of the latest and most compelling pieces of evidence, including those of behavioural science, aimed at supporting more sustainable and healthier diets in real-life contexts. In this report, sustainable food consumption refers to food purchasing and consumption patterns that are based on plant and fruit-rich diets with fewer animal-based products, locally sourced and organically produced food, and with less food waste and/or food packaging.

Target audience

The report is particularly targeted at policy makers at all levels (local, national, EU), civil society organisations (CSOs) and food industry and distribution actors (“food industry actors”), especially retailers and restaurants, that have a stake and are engaged in European food systems.

Key outcomes

  • This report puts forward 14 recommendations to drive more sustainable food consumption in Europe, clustered into four main recommendation types: ‘choice environment’, ‘choice expansion’, ‘choice editing’ and ‘beyond choice’.
  • The practical implementation of the recommendations discussed in the report is conditioned on a successful multi-stakeholder collaboration between policy makers, food industry actors and CSOs among the most important actors.
  • Without underestimating the importance of innovation and creativity, it is crucial to capitalise on existing resources and initiatives and find ways of scaling them up.
  • The effectiveness of the recommendations of this report will depend on a good understanding of the actual context of focus and should build upon existing or new pieces of behavioural insights that explain how and why people behave as they do. Moreover, it is important to consider consumers as active actors as opposed to passive ones with relatively no role in designing and shaping current frameworks.
  • Various recommendations and insights in this report support the actions defined in the Farm to Fork Strategy under the specific goal to ‘promote sustainable food consumption and facilitate the shift to healthy, sustainable diets
Xhelili, A. & Nicolau, M. (2021). From intention to action: Multi-stakeholder recommendations for making sustainable food consumption a reality. VALUMICS Horizon 2020 G.A. No 727243. CSCP, Wuppertal, Germany. 59 p. DOI10.5281/zenodo.5337036
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