Mistra Food Futures: A sustainable and resilient food system

The purpose of the Mistra Food Futures program is creating a science-based platform contributing to enabling transformation of the Swedish food system into one that is sustainable considering sustainability in all three dimensions of environmental, economic and social. The vision of the program is to create a food system that is resilient and delivers healthy diets to all.

Ample evidence of global environmental change exists to suggest that we are at a critical point in time, where we need to transform societies to function in ways that are more sustainable and resilient. From a global perspective, international comparisons of sustainable development performance show that Sweden performs relatively well. However, Sweden is far from delivering on several of the SDGs, especially those linked to the food system, and unless we accelerate the transition Sweden will fail on both the SDG’s and the Paris agreement.

In order to achieve healthy and sustainable food consumption in Sweden, a dietary change is required where some of the animal protein we consume is replaced with plant-based protein sources. While there is a strong scientific consensus of the need for large changes in the food system there is currently little known about how we would actually get there. Mistra Food Futures, which is spearheaded by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) together with Stockholm Resilience Centre and RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) aims to develop strategies and pathways for a future Swedish food system.

In this project we will study how to design policy mixes with the greatest potential to shift diets towards more sustainable and healthy options. The attitude of Swedish voters and politicians to climate policies will be studied. Results from empirical studies will then be used together with economic models to identify the efficient policies that are also politically feasible. As acceptance is an important component for the success of policy interventions, the purpose of the study is to discern what motivates acceptance and disapproval of such shifts, thereby acquiring knowledge that can be useful for framing and communication of efforts for a more sustainable food system.

Project members:

Per-Anders Hansson, Helena Hansson, Annsofie Whalström, from the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU), Line Gordon from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Therese Lindahl from Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics,  Beatrice Crona from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Ulf Sonesson from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Agriculture and Food,  and Charlotte Eklund-Jonsson from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.