France tops this year’s food sustainability index

07 December 2017 | updated 07 December 2017

London – France has topped the 2017 Food Sustainability Index (FSI) thanks to its strong policies on food waste and loss. In general, countries with high levels of human development tend to be better at ensuring food sustainability.

Developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition, the 2017 Food Sustainability Index examines the performance of 34 countries from around the world in terms of sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges, and food loss and waste. 

France came in first place for a second consecutive year. It scored very well in all three categories and was the top performer in the food loss and waste pillar thanks to the pro-active response taken by successive governments to limit distribution-level loss and end user-waste. France loses only 1.8 per cent of its total food production to waste each year.

Italy was the top performer in the sustainable agriculture category, scoring the maximum available points for its climate change mitigation and adaptation agricultural techniques, such as crop diversification, changes in livestock diets and new agronomic practices. 

Japan had the highest scored in the nutritional challenges category, reflecting its leading position and high scores in life quality, life expectancy and dietary patterns.

Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, South Korea and Hungary rounded off the top 10. The UK came in 11th place and the US in 21st.

This year’s index found a positive correlation between human development and food sustainability. For instance, Germany ranks second of 34 for the Human Development Index and 3rd for the Food Sustainability Index, while India ranks 32nd and 33rd respectively. 

Countries with a high level of food sustainability also tend to demonstrate high incomes, smaller populations and lower rates of urbanization.