From farm to fork: The true cost of food

Until today, the food system remains widely neglected despite its massive impacts on climate change, resource use, and health. To develop sustainable business models for the whole food value chain, we aim to assess and implement the true cost of food, from farm to fork. This project aims at addressing this situation and shift consumer preferences and agricultural production towards products and practices with lower social and environmental impacts. Initially funded by UNIL and EPFL as a CROSS project (2022), this work is now being continued as an SNSF Sinergia project (see below).

From Farm to Fork and beyond

A Systemic Approach for Implementing True Cost Accounting for Food in Switzerland

Food systems are major contributors to detrimental environmental, social, and health impacts globally. The transformation of food systems has been widely recognised as necessary to meet Agenda 2030 by reconciling growing food demand with reduced environmental and health impacts while coping with increasing climate, economic, and political shocks. True cost accounting for food (TCAF) – measuring social, environmental, and health impacts in monetary terms – has been put forward as a holistic approach for transforming food systems.

The mission of the project is to contribute to the transformation of the Swiss food system by providing more comprehensive information about true cost accounting (TCA) for food. The project makes a proof of concept which will be discussed and tested with the Swiss food system’s stakeholders. The project aims at understanding TCAF holistically in the Swiss context, by embedding the different stakeholders involved and the impacts of the Swiss food system on society. It identifies interdependencies and levers for change at different levels, including policy-making, the private sector, consumers, and public health, and the dynamic effects of possible TCAF interventions across the system. Eventually, the project would shed light on the multifunctionality of food and ease the shift of incentives towards healthier and more sustainable food for all. This project is funded by SNF Sinergia. (2024-2027)