Short Food Supply Chains and Local Food Systems in the EU. A State of Play of their Socio-Economic Characteristics.
In recent years, as global food chains have expanded, a large array of terms has been used in academic, policy, technical or civic debates to illustrate innovative re-organisations of food supply chains aiming at re-connecting producers and consumers and re-localising agricultural and food production. These include short supply chains, alternative food networks, local farming systems and direct sales.
The present study aims at describing the state-of-play of short food supply chains and local food systems (throughout the report ‘SFSC’ and ‘LFS’ respectively) in the European Union and reflecting on the policy tools to address them, in particular on the introduction of a common EU labelling scheme for farm produce. The methodology taking into account the available means consisted of (i) a thorough review of recent academic literature in economics, sociology, geography and other relevant related disciplines as well as technical and grey literature; (ii) a compilation of available data on 84 illustrative cases of different types of SFSCs throughout Europe; (iii) a more in depth study of
three case studies and their national / regional contexts in Austria, France and Hungary. Lessons learnt from these three exercises allow elaborating some concluding remarks on the state-of-play of SFSCs in the EU and on possible policy options to support their development.