Quantifying the sustainability of food and nutrition security in the EU: a new modelling strategy

Quantifying the sustainability of food and nutrition security in the EU: a new modelling strategy

The SUSFANS project aims to contribute to food systems change. To achieve this, the research will provide policy and decision makers across Europe with the tools to get a holistic understanding of the EU food system and how it relates to sustainable food and nutrition security.

While earlier research has focussed on the building of an aggregated set of metrics that allow for the assessment of the policy goals set by the EU, (Deliverable 1.2 and Deliverable 1.3), a new SUSFANS deliverable describes the strategy to model these performance metrics with the SUSFANS model toolbox. Together these will lead up to the final product, a spider-diagram inspired interactive tool that gives insights into the effects of policy changes on the European food system.


Connecting EU food system and policy goals

Based on the models constituting the SUSFANS toolbox, the researcher developed an approach that allows us to explore various aspects of the EU food system in relation to the EU’s policy goals.

These policy goals are:

  • balanced and sufficient diets for EU citizens,
  • reduced environmental impacts of the EU food system,
  • competitiveness of EU agri-food businesses, and
  • equitable outcomes and conditions of the EU food system.

The new paper explores drivers of change of the key actors in the food system, namely primary producers, food chain actors and consumers (D1.1). The second section shows which variables that determine the performance metrics can be captured by the models in the SUSFANS toolbox. The complete overview of the SUSFANS modelling approach is presented in table 8, in section 3.5 of this deliverable.

In the end, most of the SUSFANS performance metrics can be quantified using the tool box models. The main exception are some of the variables describing the goal of ‘Equitable conditions and outcomes of the EU food system’, for which the team is currently devising an approach to deriving these qualitatively. 


This deliverable outlines a modelling strategy for quantifying metrics and methods for quantifying the sustainability of EU FNS. SUSFANS models are assessed in terms of data needs, their limitations and the questions they can address related to sustainable FNS in the short term and the long term. This assessment sets the scene for operationalization of the SUSFANS Toolbox.