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E-commerce and online food retailing

Selling food products and groceries through online platforms for convenient shopping.


Fair distribution of food

Fair prices and fair distribution of food are no normality, neither in Europe nor in many countries of the world. There are several attempts to improve the situation.


True pricing for food

In many European countries, consumers do not pay the full prices for food products, especially in the agricultural sector. True costs are often not calculated. There are experiments with true pricing figuring out what a true price for a product could be and how much consumers would be ready to pay.



Local high quality food system networks

Food Circles shift food production from centralized structures towards decentralised, partially autonomous nutrition systems. This paves the way for bottom-up innovations and can decrease the market share of big players. Local niches for the delivery of distinct food services can lead to innovations and an efficient customer response.


Source: 50-trends-influencing-Europes-food-sector.pdf (

From ego systems economics to ecosystems economics

Food systems need to be transformed from ego to eco in retail. This means a different economic thinking - in which trust, system balances, commons and the way to work are interpreted in a different way, e.g. what is waste for one is a resource for others. Earth4All initiative.


Short Food Supply chains in production/ Local or regional food cycles

With increasing globalisation, the food system is changing. As a result of these developments, more and more people are attaching increasing importance to sustainable nutrition and local food cycles. "Regional" products are particularly popular with the urban population. This development has led to a wide range of social innovations related to local food production and consumption. "Do-it-together" approaches, such as urban gardening, can promote the sustainable use and design of public space in communities and the cultivation of food in cities. Short food supply chains involve as few intermediaries as possible, connecting local suppliers with local consumers more directly compared to conventional (longer) supply chains. Vending machines are a good example for this, selling the products of several producers at place or close to the place of production. But there are many practical questions, e.g. how can we choose the best location for such a vending machine to optimise its utilisation? How can we reach our consumers?


Sources: Project DAKIS:;; #8;;;;

Direct marketing of foods without retailers

Direct marketing in cooperative shops, farm shops and at farmers' markets avoids any retailers and is thus less expensive and more independent in prices and earnings for the producers. Retailers cannot dictate the prices or other conditions - and in most cases, the ways to the consumers are shorter. They buy local or regional. But it is difficult to convince them that they need different stops to buy their food - and do not just go to one supermarket to have everything on one spot and at each time of the year.

Sources: Stella Schaller; Lino Zeddies; Ute Scheub; Sebastian Vollmar (2022): Zukunftsbilder 2045. München: oekom verlag; proposed by CDIs

Logistics for short food supply chains

To improve the logistics for locally produced food, and its integration with large-scale distribution systems. The integration of logistics management along with clustering, coordination, and optimisation techniques, could reduce the transport distance, time, trips, and emission, and improve the vehicle capacity utilisation in the local food supply chains.


Smart retail technologies and personalized shopping experiences

Implementing technologies like AI and IoT for personalized and interactive shopping experiences.


Blockchain and traceability in the food supply chain

Employing blockchain technology for transparent and traceable food supply chains.


International standardization of labels for food/ in food systems

There is a lack of understanding and confusion about on-pack claims and labels (The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2008, pp. 19–20). The products available in today’s supermarkets carry a wide range of labels, on-pack claims, and elements of design that are meant to inform and reassure consumers on health, safety, environmental, or social concerns. Several brands, including grocery retailers, have developed their own labels; other brands use endorsements from non-certifying (but trusted) third parties or on-pack claims (such as “natural”) to convey sustainability attributes. Some products are certified by an internationally recognized and respected body, such as a local, national, or regional authority. Consumers International and the UK’s National Consumer Council report that many consumers remain confused about which products are better for society and the environment, in particular about the differences between fair-trade, ethical, organic, and other types of products (The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2008, pp. 19–20). With "Clean Eating" and other transparent labels, the food industry is communicating to the consumers that a product contains a certain ingredient or additive, or whether a product has been produced using "natural" production methods (e.g. organic agriculture or minimally processed food). It is a consumer-driven movement, demanding a return to "real food" and transparency through authenticity (Fit4FOOD2023 project).


Source: Project DAKIS:;;;

Label accuracy and transparency

Certification helps consumers to make informed choices. Many of the early products designed to be environmentally responsible, such as electric cars and recycled paper, did not meet the basic expectations of consumers. Rightly or wrongly, these early disappointments have made it tougher to convince today’s consumers that green products work as well as those that they are intended to replace or are worth higher prices (The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2008, p. 11). In their search for guidance on consumption choices, people trust each other more than any other source of information (The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2008, p. 20). At the same time, studies are showing that consumers are less trusting in brands than in the past. Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet as a trusted source of peer-generated in-formation (The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2008, p. 21).


Source: Project DAKIS:;; WBCSD 2008:;