Sustainable Food System

A sustainable food system is one that encompasses the aspects of social, environmental and economic sustainability in a farm to fork context. While there is no one focussed government plan on sustainable food production, the complexity of the food system means that a ‘systems’ (or ‘joined up’) approach is necessary if effective policy responses are to be developed by business and government. Then need is great; growing environmental pressures, including climate change, soil degradation, disruption of water cycles, expanding pathogen ranges and increasing regularity of extreme weather events, coupled with population growth and migration impact on and will continue to affect the food system.

What IFST is doing about it

In 2017 we published a report on Sustainable Food Systems, which provides a framework for future activities and partnerships, to focus our efforts in what is an extremely large topic area. It can be downloaded below and more information is available here

We are focusing on the following priorities:


Priority 1 topics - We will actively seek partners and projects, develop communications and signpost to resources

Food Chain Risk Management Systems

Science and Technology Solutions for Supply Chain Waste Reduction 

New Protein Acceptability

Sustainable R&D for SMEs


Priority 2 topics - We will work with someone if approached or communicate/link to resources developed by others

Sustainable Sourcing 

Automation - Social and Hygiene Impacts

Safety Assessment of Insects

Use of Food Waste in Other Industries

Resource Efficiency (energy and water)

Date Labelling for Waste Reduction

Traceability Technologies 

Sustainability Standards


Priority 3 topics - We will support other organisations’ efforts or communicate/link to resources developed by others

Automation: Temperature Control and Chilling 

Sustainable Use of Antibiotics

Current Modern Slavery Initiatives


We have also signed the Courtauld Agreement initiated by WRAP and are committed to supporting WRAP in the activities that are progressing under this agreement. 

IFST Sustainable Food System Framework.pdf
IFST Food System Framework Executive Summary.pdf