A word from the project coordinator, Prof Matthew Gorton

These past six months have been busy and productive for Strength2Food. The project organised one webinar to present our research findings concerning the Impacts of Public Sector Food Procurement Strategies and introduce management tools developed for practitioners, specifically a Meal Analyser tool and a Meal and Procurement Planning tool.

The research conducted on Food Quality Schemes and consumer understanding of food quality labels was presented, in conjunction with AREPO, to DG-AGRI’s geographical indications experts and staff from the Research Executive Agency (REA) in January 2020. In light of the EU consultation on EU Food Quality Schemes, Strength2Food’s main insights and policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness and valuation of Food Quality Schemes were presented. Strength2Food’s Factsheet 4, produced by Coldiretti, summarises some of the key results.

In recent months, work on the project occurred in the context of the Coronavirus crisis. This affected how we achieved some of our objectives and carried out our activities. For instance, our 5th Annual Meeting occurred virtually via Zoom, rather than face to face. Some Strength2Food partners have been directly involved in Coronavirus relief activities, for example, Food Nation switched their restaurant from serving diners to providing thousands of free meals for the most vulnerable during the crisis. As I write this, European countries are unwinding Coronavirus related restrictions but many challenges remain ahead. The economic and social impacts of Coronavirus, both at the macro level and on quality food markets, will be significant and long lasting.

In the coming year, attention turns to finalising and writing up the project’s demonstration activities, policy recommendations and tools for practitioners, and increasing the impact via further communication and dissemination, and we look forward to engaging further with those interested in the quality food agenda.

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