Strength2Food launches first Strategic Guide on Sustainable Food Quality Schemes

The EU-funded project Strength2Food has launched the first Strategic Guide on Sustainable Food Quality Schemes (FQS), as a result of a five-year research at European level. Presented on the occasion of the World Intellectual Property Day (26 April), the tool will allow practitioners, policymakers and researchers to explore the links between sustainability and FQS. It also aims to increase consumers’ awareness of the relationships between FQS, public goods and sustainability, and boost their willingness to pay for services embedded in FQS products.

Professor Matthew Gorton, Strength2Food project coordinator, said: “on World Intellectual Property Day, it is wonderful to demonstrate Strength2Food research relating to geographical indications – a form of intellectual property protection – that can benefit not just farmers but also local communities, consumers, and the environment. Through collaboration between researchers and food producers in Europe and Asia, we draw together examples of the economic, social and environmental benefits of geographical indications, to inspire others as to what might be possible.”

With the University of Parma, Italy, leading an international team of researchers from academia, public and private sector, the guide showcases the positive impacts of FQS linked to responsible production and consumption practices. Based on the results of 26 benchmarked value chains, involving different FQS such as organic, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in 14 countries, the guide presents a toolbox to explore the sustainability performance of FQS and their potential. The research identified three main dimensions of public goods linked to FQS production: a) cultural and heritage preservation; b) socio-economic and c) natural resources.

Geographical Indications (GIs) and intellectual property rights

Since 26 April 1970, World Intellectual Property Day has represented a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the central role that intellectual property and creativity play on different sectors of daily life, from the arts and music to technological innovation, for the development of societies across the globe.

In this context, Geographical Indications (GIs) establish intellectual property rights for specific products (eg agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks and industrial products), whose qualities, characteristics and reputation are specifically linked to their area of production, as they entail important benefits from a socio-economic point of view. Not only do GIs provide a way for business to leverage the value of their geographically unique products, but they also enable consumers to trust and distinguish quality products.

EU quality policy and Food Quality Schemes (FQS)

At European level, both EU quality policy and Public Sector Food Procurement have recently witnessed important reforms to protect the names and GIs of specific products and to promote their unique qualities and characteristics, which are linked to their geographical origin and traditional know-how. Food Quality Schemes (FQS) allow to promote unique qualities and characteristics found in foods, wherein GIs have emerged as prime examples of food production systems incorporating both traditional and sustainable practices.

The FQS Guide encompasses the positive impacts or externalities that are not remunerated by the market (the so-called ‘Public Goods’), whose role in achieving sustainability is significant but still not directly visible to consumers nor economically valued.

Strength2Food Final Conference – 20 May

The project’s results and recommendations will be presented at the final conference of the project on 20 May. The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) will organise the event, presenting in a digital format the Strength2Food 5-year long research journey and bringing together a set of innovative networking and exhibition features for a truly engaging experience.

The conference agenda and free registration can be found on here.

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