Manchester Metropolitan University

FoodChains 4 EU: Project Summary

The growing European population has ever-higher expectations related to food quality and sustainability in terms of processing, packaging, storage, waste reduction, distribution and retail. Innovation plays a key role in meeting these needs and fostering sustainable food chains fit for the future.

The aim of the FoodChains 4 EU project is to improve the implementation of regional policies that stimulate the delivery of innovation to create sustainable food chains in five participating regions: Flevoland (Netherlands), Plovdiv/Sofia (Bulgaria), Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Maramures (Romania) and Greater Manchester (UK).

About the Partnership

The partnership consists of nine organisations including regional authorities for each region and three universities with expertise in food chain innovation.  All the partner regions have large food sectors that provide significant social and economic benefits for their citizens and recognise that the only way to remain competitive is to provide the sustainability of the sector. In order to achieve this, regional authorities and universities will collaborate in each region and work with other regional stakeholders to share and exchange their expertise in food innovation during a series of peer reviews.

Project Objectives

FoodChains 4 EU is a five-year project funded under the European Commission’s programme for interregional cooperation, Interreg Europe. The project’s total budget is €1,560,512, of which the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) co-financed 85%.

  • The project will create an international network of regional authorities, universities and stakeholders who jointly support the delivery of innovation in their regional food chains.
  • Partners will organise and facilitate the exchange of experience and policy learning.
  • Action plans will be developed for each region to improve the implementation of regional ERDF policy instruments for delivery of innovation.
  • These plans will include concrete actions that contribute to sustainable food chain innovations in the partner regions co-funded by regional Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes.
  • FoodChains 4 EU will disseminate the practices and experiences gained to other regions in Europe and beyond.

Our Approach

The peer review process allow regions to come together for mutual learning and exploration of the ways in which the regional policies that stimulate the delivery of innovation to create sustainable food chains could be improved and implemented. The peer review approach, developed by the FoodChains 4 EU project team, offers a methodological framework that ensures regions under review receive structured feedback that is sufficiently flexible to facilitate open and productive discussions. The FoodChains 4 EU peer review methodology continues to evolve over time, with new incremental elements being introduced from one peer review to another.


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Province of Flevoland, Netherlands (Lead partner)

As a regional government, the province of Flevoland is responsible for economic development, including the promotion of innovation in the agri-food sector. The province has collaborated with regional and national partners to stimulate the development of businesses to ‘feed the city’ and to establish instruments to stimulate innovation in the food chain.

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Aeres Group Foundation re Aeres UAS, Netherlands

The University provides education, applied research and innovation, and commercial (learning) activities for individuals and businesses. It leads a coalition of food entrepreneurs, researchers, lecturers and students on Food Entrepreneurship and Food Identity. This coalition includes the Youth Food Movement, an innovative offshoot of the Slow Food Movement that leads a successful academy of future food leaders and innovators.

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Euro Perspectives Foundation, Bulgaria

EPF works on sustainable development in Bulgaria through cooperation with the EU on innovation and intelligent growth. It is a centre for training, education, and exchange of experience on a national and EU level and has developed and implemented projects related to innovation and economic development.

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University of Food Technologies, Bulgaria

The University’s academic centre for education and research in food science and technology is the only one of its kind in the Balkans. The mission and purpose of the UFT have always offered solutions to national problems concerning the development of food and flavour, industry, biotechnology, as well as industrial management and the economics of the food industry. It works in close cooperation with businesses in the food chain.

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Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Cattolica is a comprehensive university based in the Emilia-Romagna region with long history of collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna region on issues related to the competitiveness of the agri-food chain and on the role of innovation. The University has produced yearly reports on the economics of the food chain in the region since 1993.

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Emilia-Romagna Region – Directorate General for Agriculture Hunting and Fisheries, Italy

Emilia-Romagna Region – Directorate-General for Agriculture, Hunting and Fisheries is the regional public authority with competencies linked to promotion and marketing and the development of agri-food regional systems, with a particular focus on regional food chain policies.

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Maramures County Council, Romania

Manamures County Council is a public authority at county level that ensures regional development and the provision of public services for its 76 communities. It is a member of the North West Regional Development Council, which takes care of economic development and innovation policy at the regional level.

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Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, UK

Oldham Council is at the forefront of food innovation across Greater Manchester. The multi-agency Oldham Food Network partnership drives cross-sector collaboration on food activity, knowledge/experience exchange and grows innovative food models.



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