The guide highlights the impacts of FQS on production and consumption practises and offers practical advice to showcase the relationship between FQS, public goods and sustainability.
According to Prof. Matthew Gorton, Strength2Food project Coordinator:
“The guide was designed to present a methodology for the analysis of public goods but also to provide an inventory of good practices related to food quality schemes that generate public goods.”
“The idea was the good practices already tested in local agri-food systems by some quality schemes can highlight a new path toward sustainability for other producers.”
The research, led by Prof. Filippo Arfini at the University of Parma, occurred in 14 countries, and centred around the results of 26 benchmarked value chains. The guide will allow researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to understand how FQS affect sustainability and improve consumers’ awareness of FQS-linked products.
Key findings of the research
Three key dimensions of public goods linked to FQS were identified through the research. Summarising the key findings, Prof. Gorton said,
“Geographical indications (GIs) can generate economic, social and environmental benefits. However, these benefits are often not directly visible to consumers and are typically not evaluated.”
“With the guide we wanted to highlight practices that lead to economic, social and environmental benefits.”
In addition to highlighting the relationship between FQS and sustainability, the tool reveals the potential socio-economic benefits resulting from food systems based on GIs.
Applications for F&B professionals
For those involved in goods production, the guide provides recommendations for action for three key areas: cultural heritage preservation, socio-economic aspects, and the use of natural resources.
"The hope is that the guide can be a tool by those in the food industries engaged in the production and marketing of food quality schemes.”
“A great result would be to make the food industries aware that their technological and economic actions generate effects on the local production system, increasing or decreasing its sustainability,” Prof. Gorton said.
As consumers increasingly place greater value on the origin and quality of food products when making purchasing decisions, this guide may be used as a means for producers to raise consumer awareness of the significance of FQS on end-products.
Of recent, many food manufacturers have announced ambitious sustainability targets for 2030 and beyond. Professionals in the F&B industry can make use of the guide’s practical toolkit of recommendations in their efforts to achieve these sustainability goals. This may include, for example: developing technical, commercial, social relationships along the supply chain at territorial level; monitoring the maximum and minimum profitability of processes; and communicating the benefits of environmental public goods to consumers.
“The guide demonstrates that there are so many ways and experiences that can set an example for producers regardless of their geographic location,” Prof. Gorton added.
Findings and recommendations of the project will be presented a European Food Information Council (EUFIC) event in May 2021.