Food security & food sustainability


Climate change is one of the critical drivers of food insecurity.
Threats to food security from droughts, floods, and heatwaves as well as rising sea levels are already manifest and are set to grow with global warming, penalising mostly the least resilient regions. The war in Ukraine has brought food security back to the top of the political agenda and there is a growing consensus that the looming humanitarian crisis requires a strong, coordinated response from the international community.
Delivering on the green transition today is essential to ensure food security tomorrow.

The updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy reaffirmed food and nutrition security as one of its strategic objectives. The current challenges around food security should increase the efforts towards a stronger bioeconomy, which has a clear role to play in achieving food, feed, materials and energy security as well as the EU’s climate ambitions. Investments in a strong bioeconomy therefore offer high-quality, sustainably produced and sufficient quantities of food.

Furthermore, in the bioeconomy, land use and security of supply are optimised through a resource-efficient utilisation of Europe’s renewable raw materials.
The various uses of crops grown in the EU1 allow processing activities into many by-products and energy. Multi – and complementary streams are the essence of bioeconomy. Crops currently grown in the EU are used for making energy, non-food by-products as well as several food and feed ingredients. In 2021, producers of renewable ethanol produced more animal feed co-products than renewable ethanol – producing more food than fuel.

Recent data also shows that land used for growing feedstocks for the production of bioplastics is marginal: only 0.02% of global agricultural area2 .

See graph 1 for more information on land used for material production and biofuels.

Graph 1

Land used for bioplastics and biofuels does not compete with food.

If all fossil-based plastic production were replaced by bio-based plastic production, the demand would only reach 5% of global yearly biomass production1 .

According to the European Commission, no correlation has been observed between food prices and biofuel demand.


  1. Around 83% of crops grown in the EU is used domestically in food, animal feed, beverages, and non-fuel industrial uses. Nearly 11% is exported, and around 6% is used in fuel.
  2. J. Lovett, F. de Bie, D. Visser, Sustainable sourcing of feedstocks for bioplastics, clarifying sustainability aspects around feedstock use for the production of bioplastics, 2017.