A European-wide survey is being launched, which aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation for a more sustainable food system.

Irish farmers and SMEs are being urged to take part in the survey, entitled ‘IN-PACT: Sustainable Innovation and Innovative practices in the Agri-food supply chain’.

It is a collaborative project between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the non-profit research institution, CARTIF and its results will provide knowledge and evidence for policy formulation within the European Commission in the context of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy.

Put simply, the Commission will assess:
1. To what extent businesses in the agri-food chain are innovating products and practices to move towards more sustainable food production and marketing;
2. How this is happening;
3. What are the drivers and barriers;
4. To what extent regulation is needed.

In a little more detail, the survey will look at the current status of innovative products and practices geared towards sustainability – economic, social/health, environmental – carried out throughout the entire agri-food supply chain.

It will also look at why and how the operators of the agri-food supply chain undergo transformative and disruptive changes towards increased sustainability; and which, and to what extent, policies are needed to support this transition.

Specifically, it seeks to discover:

  • The main driving factors behind innovations for sustainability and the main barriers that agri-food operators encounter along the way;
  • How these changes occur in the agri-food system – individually, at the company level, or in collaboration with others such as business partners, technology centres and universities; the characteristics of and relationships between innovating actors and stages; and how innovation percolates through to other parts of the chain;
  • The expected implications and trade-offs for sustainability in economic, social and environmental terms;
  • How regulation can support the transition, and which policies are needed.

Online questionnaire

Following desk research and interviews with agri-food operators and related associations, the JRC and CARTIF are launching the IN-PACT online questionnaire to address the above issues.

The questionnaire targets companies and businesses, including SMEs and farmers, that operate in the following stages of the agri-food supply chain:

  • Input supply;
  • Primary production;
  • Processing;
  • Packaging;
  • Distribution;
  • Wholesale;
  • Retail.

It is also open to organisations and associations that represent or serve these companies and businesses.

The questionnaire takes 15-20 minutes to complete. All individual responses will be treated confidentially and will not be communicated in any attributable manner without prior permission.

The deadline for completion is January 31, 2022.