Assessing the role of CAP for more sustainable and healthier food systems in Europe: A literature review

F. Recanati*, C. Maughan, M. Pedrotti, K. Dembska, M. Antonelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Today, the European food system is characterized by unhealthy dietary trends, environmentally unsustainable production, and a dependency on an ageing farming population. The ongoing reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) represents an opportunity to redress these issues. This literature review highlights trends in how academic and grey literature have received CAP attempts in addressing the (i) environmental issues, (ii) nutritional outcomes, and (iii) rural livelihoods. Additionally, future policy and research directions relating to the CAP have been identified from the selected literature. The reviewed literature varies in approach and perspective. In particular, since the environment and rural development are already part of the CAP, the reviewed studies analyze and propose improvements to existing mechanisms. While for nutrition, the reviewed studies assessed possible policy strategies for integrating this sphere within the CAP, highlighting both the complexity of this task as well as its potential benefits. Despite these differences, a clear commonality emerged from the policy recommendations: the CAP should promote the European Union (EU) policy integration and multi-disciplinary and participatory research as key strategies to meet food system sustainability targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-919
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019


  • Common Agricultural Policy
  • Environment
  • European Union
  • Nutrition
  • Rural livelihoods
  • SDGs

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