Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the food supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and some transnational companies and to the detriment of suppliers, in particular primary producers. The concentration of bargaining power has led to the abuse of positions of dominance causing weaker operators to become increasingly vulnerable to Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs). The opinion takes stock of the impact of UTPs, stresses the difficult position of the most vulnerable actors along the chain and calls for action at EU level to stop UTPs and promote a fairer food supply chain.
The Exploratory opinion on "More sustainable food systems" (Rapporteur: Mindaugas Maciulevičius), requested by the Netherlands presidency of the EU, was adopted by the EESC at its plenary session on 26 May 2016. The opinion calls for the development of a comprehensive food policy in the EU and for an ...
From agricultural to food policy – Towards healthy and sustainable production and consumption - 21 April 2016, The Hague
Farmers, consumers, academics and policy-maker were among the wide range of participants at a Group III 'Various Interests" European Economic and Social Committee event in the Netherlands to examine the future of food production and consumption.
The agro-food supply chain connects important and diverse sectors of the European economy that are essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and to the detriment of primary producers. The position of the most vulnerable actors, such as farmers, should therefore be addressed, in particular by ensuring that prices that allow the farmer to make a fair profit are paid throughout the agro-food supply chain and by putting an end to unfair trading practices.
The EESC has received a request from the incoming Dutch EU Presidency for an exploratory opinion on how to achieve more sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental, economic and social impact of unsustainable food chains. Globally, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food is also one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures. The hearing will represent an opportunity to hear from experts and stakeholders about their views and initiatives for a transition to more sustainable food systems in Europe. The discussion will take a holistic and systemic approach by considering the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability and the importance of cross-sectoral co-operation across the food supply chain.
Food security concerns us all, because it is about the earth's resources, which we all share and use, and because food is vital for life. That’s why we need to ensure that everybody in the world has enough food to eat or the resources and means to grow their own food. Today, 16 October, is World Food Day. For us in the wealthy Europe it is a day to reflect and to consider what we can do to contribute to a change.
The EESC Permanent Study Group on Sustainable Food Systems aims to contribute to the development of a comprehensive food policy in the EU. This leaflet presents its main priorities and ongoing work.