Let’s Talk: Consumers and farmers alike are calling for sustainable food production in Europe. How do we make that happen?

Igor Teslenko, President of Corteva Agriscience in Europe, introduces an important new research study highlighting the crucial role technology and collaboration play in making our food system sustainable.

The European public wants sustainable food.

Today I am excited to present a new research study from the Financial Times Company (FT Company) and Corteva which reveals an important evolution in public opinion on how we can achieve sustainable food production. 

The FT Company surveyed consumers, farmers, policymakers, and multinational food company executives across eight countries in Europe, and learned that European consumers are overwhelmingly in favor of sustainable food. 75% of those surveyed believe that sustainable food will enhance their health and well-being.

News: Consumers are ready to support technology that leads to sustainable food

What is news is that over half of consumers are now ready to buy sustainable food produced through new plant-breeding technology, like gene editing/CRISPR. For consumers, sustainable food means reducing waste, limiting the quantity of synthetic crop protection, and supporting small farmers.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of European farmers surveyed would also implement new plant-breeding techniques to make their farms sustainable over the next five years. 

In fact, in response to the growing consumer demand, 78% of farmers surveyed have implemented sustainable farming practices. Unfortunately, the pressure to keep prices down means that the greater a farmer’s investment in sustainable practices, the heavier the financial toll, and farmers are calling on the rest of the food chain to share the cost of sustainable production.

Time to Work Together Across the Food Value Chain

As with any transformation, making the food system more sustainable requires collaboration and investment, from consumers to the policymakers that serve them, and all the actors in the food system, from farmers to food companies and supermarkets.

It’s not right for farmers who champion sustainable food production in Europe to continue to be penalized financially. Consumers are ready to pitch in, with half of those surveyed willing to pay up to 20% more for sustainably-produced food. Meanwhile, food companies are working on a streamlined food delivery chain and reduced packaging and transportation waste, among other things.

I am happy to report that Corteva has also dedicated its largest budget ever to innovation spanning the sustainable agriculture spectrum. Through integrated crop solutions, combining seeds, seed-applied technologies, agronomy advice, precision farming and digital solutions, and crop protection products with favorable environmental profiles and enhanced efficacy, we are enabling our customers to reduce the quantity of synthetic crop protection materials while still producing sufficient, healthy food for a growing population. In addition, we are developing several new green chemistry and biological solutions, and crop protection products of natural origin. Consumers and the farmers who feed them are at the heart of this product portfolio of the future.

Creating a sustainable food system in Europe is an attainable goal. With breakthroughs in  crop protection, plant-breeding technology, and digital farm management, we are creating the exact tools we need to help farmers bring more sustainably-produced food to European consumers. Policy that recognizes the transformative value of these technologies will go a long way to advancing sustainable food production in Europe.

What’s next?

Over the next several months, we will be holding several round tables, publishing new insights regularly here on sustainablefood.corteva.com, and asking you to share your thoughts on what sustainable food means to you, through Twitter @CortevaEur.

Let’s work together, to set sustainability standards, to enable farmers to use the tools available, and to put sustainably-produced food on the plate of every person in Europe!