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Strengthening European Food Chain Sustainability by Quality and Procurement Policy (Strength2Food)
Start date: 01 Mar 2016, End date: 28 Feb 2021 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Strength2Food is a 5-year, €6.9 million project to improve the effectiveness of EU food quality schemes (FQS), public sector food procurement (PSFP) and to stimulate Short Food Supply Chains (SFSC) through research, innovation and demonstration activities. Our 30-partner consortium representing 11 EU and 4 non-EU countries combines leading academic, communication, SME and stakeholder organisations to ensure a multi-actor approach. It will undertake case study-based quantitative research to measure economic, environmental and social impacts of FQS, PSFP and SFSC. The impact of PSFP policies on balanced nutrition in schools will also be assessed. Primary research will be complemented by advanced econometric analysis of existing datasets to determine impacts of FQS and SFSC participation on farm performance and survival, as well as understand price transmission and trade patterns. Consumer knowledge, confidence in, valuation and use of FQS labels and products will be assessed via cross-national survey, ethnographic and virtual supermarket-based research. Lessons from the research will be applied and verified in 6 pilot initiatives, focusing on less-developed and transition regions. These initiatives bring together academic and non-academic stakeholder partners in action research. The six pilot actions are: a school meals initiative to improve the nutritional outcomes and economic benefits for local agri-food producers; in-store trials (undertaken with a grocery retailer) to upscale sales of local produce; a scheme to stimulate a sustainable SFSC that adds value to the fishing community; and pilot actions to expand regional food labelling; increase sales of FQS products in non-traditional markers; and improve returns to local producers at food fairs and farmers’ markets (via a smartphone app). Project impact will be maximised through a knowledge exchange platform, hybrid forums, school educational resources, a Massive Open Online Course and practitioner recommendations.
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