Research as a shared project

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation endeavours to promote research projects with the goal of helping to create a world where food is produced and consumed in a sustainable way for the benefit of current and future generations.
Our objective is to contribute to international scientific research on sustainable agro-food systems through an interdisciplinary approach which takes into account three fundamental aspects:

Young people: the goal is to attract the best young researchers from around the world and give them the opportunity to share and raise awareness of their own projects, as well as developing new ones.

Education: through our research, we want to create practical tools for public decision-makers and educators in order to promote quality education about issues surrounding food.

Interaction between different stakeholders: we are fostering interaction between scientific research, public decision-makers, the private sector and civil society with the goal of involving all parties in working towards a shared and mindful sustainable development.

The BCFN Foundation for scientific research

Research projects currently in progress

The Double Pyramid

5 years ago saw the emergence of the environmental pyramid which turned the traditional food pyramid on its head. This helped to show for the first time the inverse relationship between the foods recommended from a nutritional point of view and their environmental impact. The double pyramid is a multi-annual project, becoming increasingly structured year on year.
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Publications

Research projects currently in progress are reflected in the publications of the BCFN Foundation.
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Sustainable Diet Observatory

The observatory of Sustainable Diets, launched in 2015, is a multi-disciplinary project over three years. The main objective is to investigate and analyse the latest developments in the promotion of sustainable diets by collecting and examining the various initiatives which have been implemented to bring about a change in people’s behaviour in relation to food. Above all, the analysis is focused on four main areas of interest:

Governments and local areas. Research explores the initiatives launched by cities to promote sustainable diets, by analysing a number of case studies. The main countries featured are: USA, Brazil, China and several cases in the EU.

Research institutions. The study analyses universities' commitment to promote sustainable diets through research and education, as well as initiatives carried out on university campuses (e.g. environmentally-friendly menus or caterers).

Civil society. Focus on promotions and campaigns for healthy and sustainable food, designed and supported by various civil society organisations.

The private sector. Research focuses on the commitment of the main food producers and distributors around the world to encourage people to adopt sustainable diets.

public consultation

BCFN has launched a series of stakeholder workshops in order to identify the priorities which need to be taken into account in the agro-food system and to develop recommendations for politicians, industries and civil society.

bcfn yes!

research grant

BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) is an international competition for young students and researchers, first launched in 2012.

The BCFN Foundation invites researchers from across the world to present innovative, high impact projects capable of meeting global research requirements, which are in line with the central themes of the BCFN Foundation such as food, nutrition, health and sustainability.

The BCFN Foundation for young researchers

global research

Access the most up-to-date worldwide research by selecting the desired category from those listed.

policy update

Monitoring of policies and key events at national and international levels on the major issues related to food, health and sustainability.
Global news
G20 Agriculture Ministers will present Declaration and Action Plan to EU Agriculture Ministers
The two documents that will be presented on 6 March are entitled “Towards food and water security: fostering sustainability, advancing innovation”.

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EU-level news
Public health campaigns issue warning on sugar breakfast cereals
Two UK public health campaigns, Action on Sugar and Consensus Action on Salt and Health, have published a study highlighting the high levels of sugar and salt in children’s breakfast cereals, arguing that more should be done to reformulate them.

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EU-level news
Launch of ‘Circular Economy in Food Taskforce’
The taskforce, launched by Wageningen University together with the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Sustainable Food Alliance (which brings together Dutch groups such as the Retail Association), is part of the EU-funded REFRESH project and aims to support businesses in reducing waste.

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EU-level news
French food agency provides input on nutritional labeling trials
The Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses) argues that there is little evidence concerning how these schemes affect consumer behaviour, and that the designs are not very relevant.

EU policy developments
Maltese Presidency proposes compromise on organics bill
Following months of deadlock, Malta has drafted a text which it hopes will be accepted by both the Commission and Member States, granting more flexibility to Member States to legislate on pesticides.
EU policy developments
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development will visit Canada
The Commissioner will be joined by 60 senior representatives from European companies and/or producer organisations, in the aim of promoting the EU agri-food products.

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EU policy developments
Coordinators of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture highlight impact of Brexit
The coordinators point out that Brexit may have a very important impact on the funding of the Common Agricultural Policy, with subsidies for EU farmers reduced by as much as €3 billion a year.
Parliamentary questions
Healthy and sustainable diets (Roberta Metsola, Malta, European People’s Party) – 5 December 2016 (answer 6 February 2017)
Q: Does the Commission plan to start campaigns to promote healthy and sustainable diets in 2017?
A: The Commission continues to support Member States in the framework of a number of initiatives, such as the action plan on Childhood Obesity and the School Fruit, Vegetables and Milk Scheme.
EU-level news
Fizzy drinks producers pledge to reduce amount of sugar on market
UNESDA, which brings together the main soda makers in Europe, pledged on 7 February to reduce the amount of sugar that they collectively sell in Europe by 10% by 2020.

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EU-level news
Farm Europe argues that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform must be economically and environmentally ambitious
Farm Europe hosted stakeholders in the European Parliament to discuss the CAP reform on 7 December, presenting its final report of the 2016 edition of the Global Food Forum, which lists six priority topics to help build a future EU agri-food system.

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EU-level news
Commission co-funded Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity (JANPA) publishes report on child obesity
JANPA has published an evidence paper and study protocols on the economic rationale for action on childhood obesity, which summarises the evidence on its prevalence as well as its healthcare and societal impacts and costs.


EU-level news
New UK online trading platform aims to reduce food waste
“Takestock” connects owners of surplus food with people who would like to buy it, focusing on reducing food waste in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

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EU policy developments
Commissioner Moedas states that EU research funds will focus on food, water, health and energy
The Commissioner for Innovation has stated that the successor of Horizon 2020, the EU’s current research fund, will prioritise projects on themes that are essential for people and can bring change.

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EU policy developments
European Commission publishes first Environmental Implementation Review
This new tool aims at monitoring the implementation of EU environmental laws in the 28 Member States, concluding that air and water pollution, as well as waste management, are currently particularly problematic issues.

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EU policy developments
Members of Parliament (MEPs) adopt motion for resolution on the European Consensus on Development
The Parliament’s position, which emphasises the need for a development policy focused on poverty eradication, will be used to contribute to the Joint Statement expected to be adopted by EU Institutions and Member States in June 2017.

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Parliamentary questions
Water and climate change (Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Romania, Socialists and Democrats) – 13 December 2016 (answer 14 February)
Q: What strategy does the Commission have, together with the Member States, to avoid the risks to which European citizens will be exposed in light of the increasing demand for water and subsequent water scarcity, and global food crisis?
A: The EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (2013) sets out a framework and mechanisms for raising the EU’s preparedness for current and future climate impacts, also highlighting the importance of mainstreaming adaptation in EU water policy. The Commission is also supporting Member States on how best to implement this.
EU-level news
Promotions on foods high in fat, sugar and salt contribute to obesity problems
A researcher from the University of East Anglia giving evidence on childhood obesity to the British Parliament’s health committee called for a ban on “buy one get one free” deals on junk food.

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EU-level news
Commission-funded study calls for government intervention to fight childhood obesity
The I.Family Study, which aims to promote healthier food choices, highlights the links between obesity, poverty, a lack of open spaces, and television, concluding that government intervention is crucial to fight obesity.

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EU-level news
Academic argues that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms will not be groundbreaking
Professor Alan Matthews, an expert on CAP issues, argues that the Commission is likely to carry out a “limited tweaking of the current policy” rather than a full-blown reform.

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EU-level news
Food sold in central and eastern Europe can be of inferior quality
Hungary’s food safety authority has stated that a number of products sold in international retailers in Hungary are of inferior quality than those sold in Austria. It is unclear what action the government will take.

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EU policy developments
Commissioner Hogan links agricultural policy to the provision of public goods
The Commissioner for Innovation has stated that the successor of Horizon 2020, the EU’s current research fund, will prioritise projects on themes that are essential for people and can bring change.

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EU policy developments
European Parliament Agricultural Committee warns of Brexit impact on Geographical Indications (GI)
The Committee has stated that the UK may no longer need to apply GI rules once it leaves the EU, meaning that products will no longer be protected, whereas the EU would continue to protect UK products unless the Commission repeals the decisions granting them protection.

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Parliamentary questions
Exposure of children to subliminal advertising (Daniel Buda, Romania, European People’s Party) – 1 December 2016 (answer 7 February 2017)
Q: Given that 25% of school pupils in Europe are overweight, what instruments does the Commission have at its disposal to shield children from the messages purveyed in advertisements that encourage the consumption of fatty foods?
A: The Commission is involved in a number of initiatives to promote the reduced exposure of children to advertising of unhealthy food, and is currently engaged in reviewing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
Parliamentary questions
Establishment of nutrient profiles (Pascal Arimont, Belgium, European People’s Party) – 22 December 2016 (answer 14 February 2017)
Q: What is the current state of play regarding the Commission’s aim of establishing nutrient profiles by January 2009?
A: The Commission is carrying out an evaluation of the Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods, with the outcome expected in the first quarter of 2018.

Articles attached

food and health

The “right” food is food with little impact on glycemia

Faced with an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, the category most closely linked to lifestyle, experts have developed a few qualitative indexes to help people choose what to eat. The Glycemic Index, for example, indicates the effects of carbohydrates on glycemia and insulin production, in turn linked to the development of various diseases. We talked about it with Camillo Ricordi, a member of the BCFN Advisory Board and one of the world’s leading experts on diabetes and nutrition.

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Food and sustainability

Unmasking hidden hunger in the developed world

The word hunger generally calls to mind starving children in developing countries. Unfortunately, this type of hunger is still very much a reality. However, malnutrition is much more complex. Many children who consume enough food, and even obese and overweight children, may be malnourished because they consume the wrong kind of foods—those that lack the essential vitamins and minerals required for growth and development. This “hidden hunger” can lead to irrevocable damage to the child and adversely affect communities and the economies of entire nations.

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Food and sustainability

One bite-sized solution to our biggest health threats

As a global community, we face significant challenges. Year on year, temperatures spike, surpassing previous records, with devastating effects on ecosystems and human health worldwide. Almost 800m people continue to end each day hungry or short of food, but a staggering 1.9bn of us are now overweight or obese.

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