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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 15 October 2014

EU cooperation has improved the food supply chain, but still much needs to be done

The food supply chain plays a crucial role in the daily life and well-being of every one of us. Apart from ensuring that we all have food to consume on a daily basis, it also provides employment for 46 million people in more than 15 million enterprises engaged in agriculture, food industry, food trade and services. This afternoon's final meeting of the EU's High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain will reveal a lot of progress in improving the operation of the food supply chain; in particular the group has contributed to more equitable business-to business trading relationships. But work still needs to be continued on sustainability, social dialogue and the monitoring of food prices.

In a joint statement before the meeting, the chair, European Commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci (Industry and Entrepreneurship), and his colleagues Vice-President Michel Barnier (Internal market) and Commissioners Tonio Borg (Health) and Dacian Cioloş (Agriculture and Rural Development) said: "Over the past four years, the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain has become the reference point for structured and constructive dialogue among European private and public stakeholders. It has delivered concrete output and enabled the achievement of joint positions - even on controversial issues. The Forum also acted as an incubator for new policy initiatives".

Results and perspectives

At today's meeting the Forum's members will exchange views on its main achievements, its challenges and the priorities for future initiatives to improve the functioning and competitiveness of the food supply chain.

As the Forum is reaching the end of its current mandate, it will issue a final report describing its progress over the last two years. The Forum:

  • Contributed to the establishment of more equitable business-to business trading relationships and also served as an incubator for The Supply Chain Initiative, a joint initiative launched by seven EU level associations with the aim to increase fairness in commercial relations along the food supply chain.

  • Steered the work conducted by the Commission and its external consultant on a study assessing the impact on the competitiveness of the chain of taxes levied by the Member States on food and drink products;

  • Hosted a dialogue on the sustainability of food systems, which resulted in a Declaration endorsed by various players of the food chain;

  • Nurtured interaction between the food industry and its trade unions, favouring the establishment of a structured social dialogue and common pledges; and

  • Enabled the improvement of the Food Price Monitoring Tool and the exchange of best practices among Member States and national observatories on food prices

In line with the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Industrial Policy communications and the REFIT programme, the Forum also examined access to finance, innovation and new emerging technologies within the food supply chain; as well as a fitness check of the food chain and the forthcoming fitness of the general principles of food law. Finally, a number of imminent new challenges were also identified, including the completion of the Internal Market for food and drink products, improving market access to non-EU countries, and the promotion of innovation.

The findings of today's report will highlight the ongoing need for a group such as this forum to continue work on policy issues to improve the functioning and competitiveness of the food supply chain.


In 2010, the Commission set up the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain (IP/10/1510) to assist with the development of industrial policy in the agri-food sector, over a two year period. In December 2012 a report from the Forum (IP/12/1314) registered positive results and the Commission consequently decided to prolong its mandate until the end of 2014.

The Forum consists of 47 members representing 21 EU countries, European companies dealing with food production, processing or distribution, professional associations and non-governmental organisations representing citizens’ interests.

Europe's food industry generates a value added of €800 billion and a turnover of 4 trillion. Taken alone, the food and beverages industry is the Union’s biggest manufacturing sector both in terms of employment (4.25 million jobs), turnover (€ 1,017 billion) and value added (€203 billion, representing 12.9 % of the EU manufacturing sector). SMEs account for 99.1% of companies in the food and drink sector.

More information available at

(the report will be available online today at 19:00 CET - after the meeting ends)

Contacts :

Miguel Sagredo (+32 2 296 85 89)

Sara Tironi (+32 2 299 04 03)

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