As the French government will shortly be proposing its National Strategy for Food, Nutrition and Climate (SNANC), this Study analyses the role that food retailers can play in promoting healthy, sustainable food, and proposes ways of supporting the sector, based on an examination of its constraints, strategies and room for manoeuvre.

Key Messages

  • Whether for shifting the balance between animal and vegetable products, or increasing the number of products from sustainable production methods, food retailers are not currently up to the challenge of Europe's environmental and food transition. Yet their influence is decisive on household food practices. It is therefore essential to mobilise this sector.
  • In addition, food retailers' business model has its weaknesses, as it is founded on long value chains on an international scale and low operating margins, which in turn require high sales volumes. And these vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the growing number of ecological, economic, health and geopolitical crises.
  • Public authorities have a legitimate role to play in providing the food retailers' sector with a better framework for achieving sustainability objectives, in line with existing policies (commercial relations, food waste, consumer information and protection) and building on current private initiatives.
  • The current context is favourable, as the environmental imperative is in line with other changes already underway that are pushing food retailers to reinvent themselves. The French National Food, Nutrition and Climate Strategy (SNANC) is an excellent opportunity to start planning its contribution to environmental and health objectives between now and 2030, while supporting the sector in meeting the challenges posed by the transition.
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