France Has The Most Sustainable Food System

Alan L. Johnson

The country of France recently scored as number one on the Food Sustainability Index (FSI). This index rates countries on food system sustainability. The index was developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in partnership with the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN). The Index itself is calculated by assessing both qualitative and quantitative data. It includes 38 indicators and 90 individual metrics and assesses the sustainability of food systems according to 3 categories – Food Loss and Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, and Nutritional challenges through an environmental, societal, and economic lens.

Recently, at the BCFN Food Forum in Milan, Leo Abruzzese, senior global director of public policy at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), presented to delegates the results of the index. These types of public disclosures can be seen as an exercise in naming and shaming companies into action, but in recent years the idea of having public indices for transparency's sake have become successful in directing attention to significant issues.

According to, in years past the index has been primarily concentrated with European and Asian countries which continued this year with domination in the high-income region categories. France was singled out as the top country with attention being given to its regulatory culture that reduces food waste and loss. Other European countries of note were Spain and Germany.

Sending out a rallying cry to attendees, Mr. Abruzzese explained:

It’s a figure that’s well-known but it’s still rather incredible that 30% of all food produced is wasted, from both a business stand-point and a humanitarian one.

Future sustainability concerns that the industry will need to focus on are high meat and sugar intake, a lack of young people in the farming profession, and high levels of food waste at the consumer end.

It is truly incredible to see the rise of these industry-specific sustainability indices that allow the market to gauge the level of sustainability that a country has. In this way, consumers are able to put pressure on legislators, organizations, and hopefully push for more sustainable industries that will help our food supply prepare for the future of consumption.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. What rank is your country on this index and why?

Q2. How can you help with food waste?

Q3. How do you feel when you see food wasted?