Food companies face the challenge of consumers not willing to pay a premium for high standards, a new report has found.

‘The Long and the Short’, produced by the Sustainable Food Supply Chain Commission, which included academics from the University of Warwick, says that companies that aspire to promoting social and environmental sustainability in their supply chains are competing with other companies that may not share those aspirations.

While the Commission found that there is considerable scope for the market to reward the aspirations for high standard, there is also a limit “to how much companies can expect consumers to pay for higher standards – a limit in terms of the premium that consumers will be willing to pay and also in terms of the market share that can be commanded.”

Commenting on the report Professor Rosemary Collier, report Commissioner, Director of the University of Warwick’s Crop Centre and one of the academic leads for the Food GRP, said the report has affirmed the considerable complexity of the ‘food system’ and the substantial linkages and interdependencies between the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability.

The report’s findings form the basis of a delegation to the European Commission and meetings with the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.