Circular economy can play an active role in solving the unsustainability of the food production system, contributing to the creation of shorter and more resilient supply chains. Some solutions include policy regulations driving consumption towards more sustainable choices and the reduction of food waste: “best before” labels might be scrapped, food sharing initiatives incentivized and organic waste regarded as a high-value raw-material. Bio-refineries can be the catalyst of a green transition, where food waste can generate biofuels, bio-chemicals, plastics, textiles, medicines and much more. Circular practices seem to hold the potential for a win–win solution, simultaneously enhancing sustainability throughout the entire value chain (from production to consumption and post-consumption) and improving its resilience through the introduction of localized supply chains, making the food system less dependent on international trade. The European Union is working towards this direction (as its policy and social media agenda exposes) and will hopefully accelerate the transition to meet its Green New Deal expectations.
THaving shown the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a huge economic crisis and exposed many of the fallacies ofincreased importance placed on the food system in the EU’s social media agenda, as well as the growing concerns around the sustainability and resilience of the food system, we shall now discuss how this topic has been integrated into the scholarly and practitioner debate over the current world economic system, includingircular economy. By extending our analysis beyond social media, we hope to achieve a more finely grained assessment of the nexus between the COVID-19 pandemic and the food system. .At Tthe aim of this paper is twofold: first, it aims at identifyingsame time, by assessing the link between the food system and the circular economy, we seek to propose some actionable—albeit preliminary—solutions.
As the Gerise and fall of specific narratives related to theman philosopher Feuerbach said, “We are what we eat.” Perhaps this saying might even extend to COVID-19, as many have pointed out that our global food system during the(and economy) greatly increases our risk of experiencing a pandemic by means of a content analysis of social media content. This analysis. In what follows, we will present the results of our comprehensive systematic literature review (drawing on Tranfield et al.’s will s approachow) how issues associated withto assess causes, consequences and circular solutions pertaining to the link between the food system gainedand the COVID-19 pandemic.
Systematicentrality reviews differ from traditional narrative reviews in their replicable, scientific and transparent process, aimed at minimizing bias throughout the lockdown, raising questions regarding the (lack of) sustainability exhaustive literature searches of published and unpublished studies and providing an audit trail of reviewers’ decisions, procedures and conclusions. Our review began with the definition of our goals: to find and integrate the most recent and resiliency oflevant literature on the relationship between COVID-19, the food system and the circular economy. Subsequently, it will present the preliminary findings of a systematic we analyzed and selected the most recent available literature on the topic, encompassing both scientific papers and gray literature review aimed at identifying possible solutions for improving the food system wit, such as reports and plans from policymakers and international organizations. No subjective distinction was made between scientific papers and other documents, provided that they respected the rules described hereinafter.
The research was main the recent sly conducted through the SCOPUS and Google Scholarly debate. These two objectives represent, in the authors’ view, two faces public search engines. Forty-three references were selected and shortlisted on the basis of publication date (published in 2015 or later) and correspondence with specific keywords (i.e., “COVID-19,” “food,” “circular economy”), with the aim of generating collective insights through a theoretical synthesis of fields and subfields. The search was first conducted with the use of the same coin. By addres“AND” Boolean operator, then expanded using them simult “OR” Boolean operator.
The data extractioneously, we seek to present a full picture of how discourse around the food system (in t process focused on synthesizing key information, based on the abovementioned goal of offering an up-to-date review of the current global food system and selecting the most recent and relevant solutions to enhance its sustainability and circularity.
The World Food Programme  recently context of thefirmed that the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 emergency) is being shaped and communicated in the interest of developing solutionsreinforce the need for investments to prevent future outbreaks of infectious diseases. In so doing, it emphasized the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment, as well as the need for stable and sustainable architecture to make economic growth feasible, while respecting the surrounding environment .
CThere are twommunication strategies are important, especially in social and political contex primary issues with the current industrial food system. First, intensive livestock production amplifies the risk of disease, since it involves the confinement of large numbers of animals in small spaces, narrowing genetic diversity and fast animal turnover. Second, habitat destruction, unchecked urbanization and land grabbing lead to amplified human–wildlife interaction, which eventually leads to zoonotic spillover . It is, as they offer the possibility to introduce and attrac therefore clear that pandemics, like the COVID-19 one, are not random events, but the logical result of our current food system and, to a wider scale, our economic model.
Another attention to new problems. To this extent, the disscatalyst of pandemics is urbanization, as indicated above. Thirty-five years ago, more than 60% of the global population lived in rural areas; this figure has now dropped to 46%, while the urban population is set to reach 68% by 2050 . Cities are already consumination of ng 75% of the world’s natural resources and 80% of the global energy supply . Urbanizationformation is crucial in tracking the path that society should follow, as well as rais impacts food consumption patterns by increasing demand for processed foods, animal-based foods, fruits and vegetables. Higher urban wages also tend to increase the opportunity costs of preparing food and favor food products that require a large amount of labor, such as fast food, store-bought convenience food and food that is prepared and sold by street vendors .
China, the alleg public awareness oed epicenter of this and several previous disease outbreaks, has one of the importance of parthighest urbanization rates in the world, having doubled its level over the past 40 years (from 22.7% to 54.4%) . This urbanization has cular issues. Hence, it is important to inveslosely paralleled rising animal protein consumption (due to higher wages), increased land conversion and livestock production, higher zoonotic risk (due to closer contact with wild animals) and a more rapid spread of pathogens through the globalized channels of world economy.
As mentigoned ate how experts and policymakers propose solutiobove, when lockdown measures were first introduced, stockpiling behaviors prevailed, while governments reassured their residents about the resilience of food supply chains and inform citizens about the business continuity in the agri-food sectors. In fact, there are diverging opinions on the actual solidity of the current food system. Their methods for doing so, as discussed in the current: for some, empty grocery shelves are not just the result of the human tendency to hoard in times of danger, but also an important reminder that our food supply chains are easily disrupted and that many of our food systems lack resiliency and redundancy . Many global wregiork, might influence subjects’ attitudes, behaviors andns rely on highly centralized food systems, at the expense of strong local and regional systems that could provide a better buffering capacity when needed b. However, other scholiefs about adopting more sustainable practicars have countered that if the number of importing countries has risen for most crops, so has the number of exports in many countries.
This has made The present analysis starts by framing the sustainability issue against ttrade more resilient to swings in supply and demand. Supply lines may empty, but alternatives can be found. For instance, when Indian traders stopped signing new export contracts in April, Carrefour, a French supermarket group, found new rice suppliers in Pakistan and Vietnam and opened a beef import route from Romania . Nonethele contemporary backdrop of the health and economic crisis effected byss, even the most optimist commentators acknowledge that the current food system has bottlenecks (as does every global supply chain) and that good harvests in 2019 were able to account for some of the resilience of the food supply chain in the face of COVID-19 .
A Over the long term, consumer food habits the pandemic is a contingent matter that has yet to unfold its deepest consequences, we willmight change along three main directions. First, the rapid growth in online grocery delivery services might continue. While many big companies were already implementing this service pre-pandemic, their systems struggled to cope with the sudden expansion in online orders during the lockdown, leaving long time lags before delivery slots were available . The same conly seek to evaluate its possible economic repercussionuld be said about food delivery systems, which mainly operate via mobile phone apps: since the pandemic hit, such apps have been increasingly used by restaurants, as in-person dining has been severely restricted in many countries. There are divergent opinions on this matterfore, to some extent, the crisis has dematerialized and “desocialized” the food sector, speeding up consumers’ adoption of online services. The duration and degree of this trend is still uncertain, but one cthe effect could be noticeable (depending on cultural factors) .
Second, consumertainty is that the crisis wills might demonstrate a revived interest in “local” food supply chains. In fact, interest in “local foods” was established prior to the pandemic, as people understood this food to offer economic, social, environmental and health benefits . Local food is usually peave a mark and question the globalrceived as fresher and—particularly in the present context—more convenient, as it can be easily bought in smaller stores, allowing consumers to avoid long queues outside supermarkets. During the pandemic, consumers also expressed a desire to support the economic order, as never before. Werecovery of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Again, how rooted and long-lasting this effect will explore the deep causes of thebe is still unknown, also considering that local food chains are less cost efficient than global ones .
Third, the pandemic and the connection between COVID-19 and the current food system, which has exposed the fahas forced people to significantly change their daily lifestyles, and these changes might persist over the long term. Staying home all day in what was previously a rushed, globalized society has tested people’s resilience and led them to question their priorities. People have been forced to slow down their rhythms and rediscover new hobbies and passions (e.g., cooking, instead of buying processed food). It seems that waste recycling has benefitted from these changes , alongside a generalacies of the latter decrease in waste production (due also to the economic slowdown) .
SAs discubsequently, we will analyze the communication strategy adopted by particular social media accounts . As mentioned, we will specifically investigate the dynamics ofssed above, the pandemic has put the current food system—focused on a linear and globalized production and consumption model—under high stress. Tjisse Stelpstra of the European Committee of the Regions has said that the devastating situation created by COVID-19 must bring all policymakers together and be the wake-up call for a new economic model that places social wellbeing and environmental sustainability at the core of the EU’s economic recovery . The Ecircuropelar economy could be a pivotal element of this recovery plan U.
Accordinig ton (EU) communic an EU advisory scientific study , achieving a sustions ainable food system means “increasing or maintaining agricultural yields and efficiency while decreasing the environmental burden on biodiversity, soils, water and air; reducing food loss and waste; and stimulating dietary changes towards healthier and less resource-intensive diets”. Jurgilelvich et al.  summarized ted tohat the EU Commission have identified three main stages of the food system. Our social media content analy with reference to the circular economy: production, consumption and waste.
As for the fis will aim at assessing: (1) how therst stage, the “localization” of the food system might represent a more resilient and sustainable solution: localized food systems reduce waste and favor nutrients . COVID-19ombining local pandemic has re-shaped the EU’s social media agenda witand seasonal elements in short supply chains reduces storage and transportation, provides a better supply–demand balance, creates more transparency and tracking and contributes to waste reduction. In addition, consumers seem to place higher value on food purchased in local markets.
Another respect to theknown issue regarding food production is packaging. Our current food system and the circular economy; and (2) how themes relating to the food system ais based on single-use packaging, although recent trends have shown improvements in both the quantity and the quality of this packaging. Still, many recycling processes are insufficient, as is the case for light PET bottles and multilayer plastic (as opposed to mono-material plastic) . Ind the circular economy have evolved/co-evolved over the period of the pandemicis vein, policymakers should continue to incentivize the reduced use of plastic, in favor of more durable or recyclable materials, such as paper, aluminum, steel and gained momentum amongst EU cilass, even though these materials do not altogether prevent the accumulation of unwanted metal ions through repeated recycling . For thizens. To this end, we ws reason, research and development (R&D) in materials science and engineering must be a priority.
As for consumption, pollicymakers should focus on Twitter posts, as these emaking sustainable choices the easiest options and transferring costs to unsustainable food choices. One example of a sustainable the re-construction of social networks, comprised of vertexes (ichoice is the avoidance and/or reduction of meat consumption. Through the lens of the circular economy, reduced meat consumption increases the efficiency of material flows within the food system by reducing the amount of energy, land and water used per calorie of food produced . Furthe., people, institutions) and links (connections between accounts, people and institutions)rmore, policymakers should invest more in food and nutrition education, in order to raise awareness not only amongst the younger generations, but also amongst the older ones, by disseminating information campaigns through both traditional and innovative media channels.
w Besides these non-binding actions, more incisive one will analyze possible solutions identified in the recent literature, placing particularly attention on how the Euros (i.e., fiscal and regulatory measures) could force producers and consumers to improve their practices in support of greater sustainability. Policymakers might introduce bans, impose specific production and sourcing requirements, influence demand via public procurement and impose taxes or fees. These fiscal measures might encourage producers, suppliers and retailers to make sustainable choices and/or directly add costs to unhealthy or non-sustainable food for customers, in the form of a Pigouvian tax. Indeed, the SAPEA report  states that “examples of relatively imposing instruments that have become increasingly popular include the use of fiscal instruments (e.g., sugar and fat taxes), standard-setting (e.g., on the maximum amount of salt allowed in products), and outright bans (e.g., on trans fats)” (p. 98).
The finanl stage of the food system might be revolutioniz, relating to waste, is perhaps where the circular economy can have the largest and most immediate impact. Indeed, as stated by the inEuropean Union , “food waste takes place all along the value chain: during production and distribution, in shops, restaurants, catering facilities, and at home. This makes it particularly hard to quantify” [par 5.2]. Within the largerod food system, production of circular economy prinaccounts for approximately 24–30% of total waste, while the post-harvest stage accounts for 20% and consumption accounts for 30–35%. Cereals account for 53% of the total waste; surprisingly, meat accounts for only 7%—far less than the impact of meat production on the environment . Accordiples, also in lng to Stuart, 30–50% of material intended for consumption (including animal material that is fed to animals or discarded as a byproduct) is wasted in North America and the EU at different stages of the food system . According to Bajzelj , the reduct of the COVion of food waste is essential for achieving a resilient food system.
IDt is important to distinguish between edible and non-19 crisis. We will focus on the potential for circular econedible food waste, as only the latter is actually defined as waste. Edible food is potentially ready to be consumed, either by its owner or by another person. To reduce food waste, food labelling policies should be changed and harmonized, as “best before” labels are likely to generate unnecessary waste due to consumer misperceptions of food quality. Indeed, according to Borrello et al. , “Even when consumers try to follow indications of producers, 20% of food is thrown away because of the confusion generated by the dates on product labelling”. [p. 2]. Policymy solutions to impact all three stagakers should act to prevent these losses by imposing strict limitations on “best before” labels. In this vein, the EU Commission announced that it “will examine ways of promoting a better use and understanding of date marking by the various actors of the food chain. The EU  has also adopted measures to prevent edible fish being thrown back into the sea from fishing vessels” [par. 5.2].
Some authors of thewarn that food system—production,haring initiatives might facilitate upstream food waste, as such initiatives allow consumption anders to get rid of their waste disposal.
Fwithout preventing its generation in the first plally, we willce. Thus, they act as “short-term sticking plasters” that obsummarize the interconnecure entrenched issues of food poverty. Further research is needed to verify the real impact of these actions between, which are very diverse and fragmented in their nature COVID.
As regards non-19edible food waste, the food is should remain in the system and the circular economy. While there remainschain and be regarded as a precious resource—not only for the production of more food, but also for the production of new energy (which can be used as fuel in countries seeking to reduce their environmental footprint) and much work tomore. Some policymakers promote “backyard composting” , or self-composting at home. More actions and incentives may be needone ted to promote this activity, considering that it also facilitate the transition to a more sustainables the possibility of growing fruits, vegetables and other plants at home. This would enhance household engagement with the production of clean local food system, many instruments have alreand reduce demand for industrial agricultural products, thereby limiting the use of water and chemical fertilizers.
Thadyt been set out for this purpose. Wing said, food waste can take on many other forms, thanks to “green chemistry” solutions within the context of tbio-refineries, which can generate biofuels, bio-chemicals, plastics, textiles, medicines and more from organic waste . While current pandemic, a a circular food system should primarily aim at transforming food waste into new food, where this is not possible, the system should reinvest these resources into new energy or material forms, which may be equally socio-economic aally beneficial.
The presendt political international shift could ease the processanalysis clearly shows that a circular food system should not be entirely self-contained, but it should incorporate a wider reconsideration of the current fossil-fueled, linear and unsustainable economic model towards achieving a more one that is green, resilient and sustainable and model—that is, a bioeconomy powered by circular food system.ity. Policymakers should therefore engage more with this transition, with the aim of creating a fertile ground for a more sustainable food system (and society) by:
Reshaping food production via localized supply chains and improved packaging;
Guiding consumption towards sustainable choices, through a mixture of tax and education policies;
Focusing and investing in the conversion of non-edible food waste into energy and materials, via green chemistry and bio-refineries.