The Food Sustainability Index: a tool to appraise the sustainability of food systems. An illustration for Europe.

  • Michele Pedrotti (Speaker)
  • K. Demska (Speaker)
  • M. Antonelli (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationAcademic


In a global context of climate change, nutritional burdens and pressures on the food system, we present an analytical tool to foster the discussion among the food chain stakeholders for a transition toward more sustainable food systems. The Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, analyses national food systems through 37 environmental, economic and societal indicators and 89 sub-indicators based on data from public databases, grey literature, interviews and primary data sources. The objectives of the FSI are i) to highlight the performance of the food system sustainability of different countries; ii) to offer examples of best practices at both national and city level; and iii) to track progress against the 2030 Development Agenda. In the third edition of the FSI released in 2018, 67 countries were assessed on three key pillars: Food Loss and Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, and Nutritional Challenges. In the EU, France, the Netherlands and Finland rank highest. However, the FSI highlights important differences among the EU’s members. For example, despite Italy and France have the most innovative legislation to address Food Loss and Waste, the EU population still generates around 58 kg of food waste pro capita per year ( from 87 kg/per capita in Belgium to 36 kg/per capita in Cyprus). In the nutritional challenges pillar, all EU countries fall in or below the second quartile for the overweight indicators, with more than half adults in EU being overweight (BMI>25). This is due to a decline in adherence to traditional diets such as the Mediterranean diet, reduced physical activity and increasing consumption of food items rich in fats and sugars for which agricultural, technological, political and market-oriented actions should be taken. In this optic, the FSI can be a useful holistic tool to orient the food system towards more sustainable and healthy food choices through a multidisciplinary view.
Period12 Nov 201914 Nov 2019
Event title33rd EFFoST International Conference 2019
Event typeConference
LocationRotterdam, NetherlandsShow on map