• Programme: Horizon Europe, Food, Bioeconomy Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment 
  • Funding amount: EUR 7.35 million, of which EUR 534,000 for Bavaria 
  • Funding period: 06/2022–05/2026 
  • Coordinators: Wily Baltussen / Marieke Meeusen-van Onna, Wageningen Economic Research, Netherlands 
  • Website:

EU Project FOODCoST: What is the true price of our food?

From the production and manufacture to the sale and consumption of food as well as the generation of waste – our food system is usually not sustainable. As a result of its significant impact on the environment and health, it incurs costs that so far have not been included in the pricing of individual products. The EU project FOODCoST aims to develop solutions to determine the true market value of a food product, taking sustainability criteria into account.

Organic food causes lower environmental impact costs than conventional food

The European "Farm-to-Fork" and sustainability strategies as well as the European Green Deal are committed to a more sustainable food system. A food system encompasses materials, processes and infrastructures related to agriculture, manufacturing, retail, transport and the consumption of food. In order to combat unsustainable consumption, the costs of the entire system, including manufacturing methods, consumption behaviour and supply chains, need to be taken into account. According to studies by the University of Greifswald and the Nuremberg Institute of Technology, the prices of conventionally produced animal products would be almost twice as high if the ecological follow-up costs were included. If social externalities such as health effects or animal welfare were included, the follow-up costs would be significantly higher. So far, it is the society that bears these costs – not the party causing them.

Calculation of the real commodity value along the entire food value chain

Organic food produces lower environmental costs than conventional food. As long as sustainably produced food for a healthy diet is more expensive and less profitable than unsustainably produced and less healthy food, efforts to introduce sustainable food systems will hardly be successful. Uncovering these hidden costs is therefore a significant step in driving markets towards more sustainable food systems. The EU project FOODCoST intends to define approaches for the empirical measurement and evaluation of external cost effects such as biodiversity losses. The consortium is working on a standard method for calculating the true value of goods along the entire food value chain. In a multi-actor initiative, all stakeholders from agriculture, industry, government, civil society and science are developing a guideline with recommended measures for sustainable transformation in the food sector. Wageningen Economic Research coordinates the project involving 22 partners from 13 countries, with the Nuremberg Institute of Technology and ECOZEPT from Bavaria being two of the partners.


"It is not the first time that we have been impressed by BayFOR, due to its expertise and the highly constructive cooperation at a personal level. Our collaboration is a pleasure." 
Prof. Tobias Gaugler, Technical University of Nuremberg


Prof. Dr. Tobias Gaugler

Prof. Dr. Tobias Gaugler
Nuremberg Institute of Technology
Tel. +49 911 58803305

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