FOOD Costing and Internalisation of Externalities for System Transition

Towards an EU European Union (European Union) approach to assess and internalise positive and negative externalities of food for incentivising sustainable choices.

The current global food system is not sustainable. Environmental, social and health costs are substantially generated while providing no affordable food for healthy diets to all. The central problem is that these costs are insufficiently accounted for in today’s market prices and therefore distort economic decision-making in food value chains. The internalisation of these externalities will be fundamental in order to facilitate market-based responses that contribute to more sustainable food production and healthier food consumption patterns.


FOODCoST aims to support the transition towards a sustainable food system by proposing a harmonised methodology for the valuation and internalisation of externalities along the food value chain based on economic cost principles.  FOODCoST will provide tools and guidance to policymakers, businesses and other actors to assess the sustainable impacts fostered by the implementation of business and policy measures that address the externality issues. The project started in June 2022 and will run until 2026.


The FOODCoST consortium consists of 23 beneficiaries from 13 EU European Union (European Union) countries:

Participating universities: 

  • Aarhus Universitet (MAPP; DK)
  • Almeria (ES)
  • Augsburg (DE)
  • Bologna (IT)
  • Bonn (DE)
  • Louvain La Neuve (BE)
  • Ljubljana (SI)
  • Oxford (UK)
  • Cluj-Napoca (RO)
  • Sweden (SE).

Other research organisations and public bodies:

  • Wageningen Economic Research (NL; coordinator)
  • Agrarkozgazdasagi Intezet Nonprofit Korlatolt Felelossegu Tarsasag (AKI; HU)
  • Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (APRE; IT)
  • European Centre of Agricultural, Regional and Environmental Policy Research (EUR)
  • Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE; FR)
  • National Institute for Public Health (RIVM; NL)
  • Soil & More Impacts (SMI; DE).

Private for-profit entities:

  • Danone (FR)
  • Ecozept (FR)
  • Globaz (PT)
  • St MVO (NL)
  • PEDAL consulting (SE)
  • Zuidelijke Land en Tuinbouw Organisatie ZLTO (NL)
  • Organic Processing and Trade Association Europe (DE).

Other entities: Copa Cogeca (BE).

RIVM role

RIVM contributes to several Work Packages of FOODCoST:

  • WP1: Methodologies and data to calculate external costs and benefits.  RIVM contributes to the development of a harmonised methodology for the calculation of the externalities of food;
  • WP2: Policy models and instruments. RIVM contributes to the policy modelling framework for internalisation;
  • WP5: FOODCoST Case studies. RIVM has a leading role in the case studies on the effectiveness of carbon and sugar tax for reducing external costs and in the case study to quantify the externalities of fish consumption and production;
  • WP6: Impact assessment. RIVM participates in co-creating the integrated FOODCoST toolbox.

The involved RIVM experts are: Hendriek Boshuizen, Ardine de Wit, Liesbeth Temme, Jeljer Hoekstra, Anne Hollander, Reina Vellinga and Jacky Florencio (PhD).
Marieke van Bakel coordinates RIVM participation in FOODCoST.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Farm to Fork research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101060481.