At the dawn of a new legislative term, Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen seems determined to increase the ambition on a new integrated food strategy that will involve the entire food supply chain, from farm soils to supermarket shelves.
Much has been achieved so far to make the whole EU food system more sustainable, not only on the side of food producers but also taking into account processors, distributors and retailers.
Launching a holistic new food strategy could be a chance to finally address some longstanding issues such as improving food traceability to prevent food frauds or a wider application of the circular economy concept to the production, processing and purchase of foodstuffs.
Focusing the debate over the new EU food policy only on greening the agricultural production may detract from the other side of the food chain which has ground to become more sustainable, as the experience of retailing co-operatives shows.
Lawmakers in the European Parliament expect an ambitious Commission's proposal on the new EU long-term and integrated food policy, that ensures safe, quality and affordable foodstuffs to all European citizens but without harming actors in the food supply chain.
For 175 years, co-operatives have successfully used commercial efforts to generate social value. Yet, their model is not sufficiently promoted. The Single Market & local communities will benefit if this changes.