Call announcement for Fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food systems from primary production to consumption


In line with the European Green Deal priorities, the farm-to-fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environment‑friendly food system, and the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the farm-to-fork proposal will support R&I o develop new food products and processes in conventional or organic production systems. These new products should be healthier and overall more sustainable and based on natural ingredients, tasty and appealing to the consumer, affordable and minimally processed.

Several studies in adults found a strong scientific concordance between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of developing cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Evidence is accumulating from mechanistic studies of the plausible causal pathways by which the physical structure and chemical compositions of these foods might cause harm. Additives or cocktail of additives could play a role in the incidence of NCDs and further R&I are needed. It is now widely accepted that a diet rich in plant-based food, such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, legumes and nuts, may reduce the incidence of chronic diseases and is also beneficial against obesity and metabolic diseases. Further research is necessary to determine how the structural characteristics of plant-based foods deliver health benefits in modulating digestibility and in improving the bioavailability of nutrients and how the physical structure may be modified by processing.

They should also optimize nutritional, structural and functional food properties of raw materials to enhance health and well-being benefits for EU and Associated Countries citizens and have a low impact on the environment/climate. This will contribute to the transformation of food systems to deliver co-benefits for climate, biodiversity, environmental sustainability and circularity, the shift to healthy and sustainable diets, safe food, food poverty reduction and empowerment of communities, and thriving businesses.

Proposals are expected to address the following R&I activities:

  • Develop and optimise new efficient methods/processes to reduce costs (e.g. energy, water, food raw materials) and impact on the environment to produce minimally processed functional food ingredients and food products and assess their nutritional, sensorial, structural and functional properties to enhance health and well-being, including the values provided by the plant/produce microbiome for nutritional qualities and its effects on the human gut microbiome.
  • Develop new healthy, sustainable, diversified, minimally processed, reformulated, tasty and affordable food products and assess their nutritional, structural, sensorial and functional properties to enhance health and well-being and to improve nutrition status.
  • Demonstrate the safety of the developed food products in accordance with relevant EU regulatory frameworks related to their placing on the market, and generate relevant data for pre-market authorisation,
  • Investigate, assess and develop improved predictive realistic models for quantifying effects on human health (risks/benefits) of processing and food ingredients (and/or mixture of them).
  • Study and optimise the role of the food matrix structure to make specific ingredients available or not (in case of caloric control) to our digestive system to reach the desired health effects/to combat non-communicable (NCDs).
  • Ensure societal acceptance and consumer buy-in of new food products and processes by involving consumers at all stages of the product development process.

Proposals must implement the ‘multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of academia, research-technology organizations, food businesses and other relevant actors of the value chain and take into account sex and gender analysis.

Deadline model: single-stage

Planned opening date: 17 October 2023 Deadline date: 22 February 2024 17:00:00 Brussels time