Publications & tools

Guidance document

Manifesto for establishing minimum standards for public canteens across the EU

Following a policy paper on ‘Sustainable Public Procurement of Food: A Goal Within Reach’, which presented the ‘business case’ for sustainable healthy food procurement, and key policy recommendations for using procurement for a systemic food transformation, this Farm to Fork Procurement Manifesto (hereafter ‘F2F Procurement Manifesto’) aims to inspire the European Commission and the EU Member States as well as regional and local public authorities with seven actionable propositions for establishing minimum standards for public canteens in Europe.

European public canteens, and in particular school meals, are low-hanging fruit for the implementation of the EU Farm to Fork strategy. They can be catalysts for food system transformation if their public spending actions include ambitious requirements that go beyond environmental or ‘green’ requests.

What if all public and school canteens across Europe had to abide by minimum mandatory criteria that support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals? Some may oppose higher costs, but as we all know by now, the costs of unsustainable practices related to any of these aspects are far higher for society and taxpayers (see the previous EU FPC paper for evidence on cost-effective food procurement).

So why buy cheap and unhealthy food when public food procurement provides such a good opportunity for tackling so many sustainability policy goals on one plate? Buying better to achieve more is the intention of this Manifesto.