Transformation of Diets – BMEL Supports Regional Model Projects on Sustainable Eating and Food Supply

3-year grants offer funding for collaborative model projects in Germany that make innovative contributions to a shift towards a healthy and environmentally aware diet.

The call ‘Regional Transformation of Diets’ (Ernährungswende in der Region) by Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL – German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture) is designed to contribute to the societal transformation processes needed for a sustainable food system. The aim is to promote healthy and sustainable eating as well as establish and develop regional value chains for food including catering, restaurants and home cooking.

In detail, the call contributes to the following overarching goals:

  • Implementation of the quality standard for community catering set out by the German Nutrition Society.
  • Promotion of organic farming by increasing the share of organic foods used in the restaurant and catering sector to 30%.
  • Development of regional food value chains.
  • Strengthening of supply structures for regional, seasonal and organic foods.
  • Halving the amount of food waste in Germany until 2030.

To achieve these aims, the call focusses on the collaboration and active participation of multiple actors from industry, civil society and public administration.

The call supports projects that make innovative contributions to a shift towards a healthier and more environmentally friendly and sustainable diet. The projects should demonstrate their approaches in defined model regions. They must however also allow for the transfer of the project results to other regions.

Funding is provided in the following six areas of activity:

  1. Development of dialogue, participatory processes and networking in the region.
  2. Quality of catering, including design of eating environments, innovative catering concepts, nutritional education and dissemination of information for consumers.
  3. Selection of foods and increase of the share of organic foods in the catering and restaurant sector, including menu design with a focus on plant-based foods, emphasis on seasonal and regional products, as well as consideration of animal protection and fairness aspects.
  4. Development of regional food value chains, including strengthening of regional food processing and logistics structures with a focus on organic, seasonal and craft products, as well as consideration of aspects of resilience.
  5. Appreciation of foods and reduction of food waste, including educational and communication measures.
  6. Other relevant aspects that serve the aims of the funding initiative such as further information measures on sustainability, development of collaborative food systems and fairness along the value chain, as well as aspects of inclusion.

Projects should ideally address as many different aspects of the above list as possible.

Eligible for funding are regional authority bodies in Germany. A wide range of social and commercial actors, including scientific institutions are also eligible for funding if they collaborate with regional authority bodies in a consortium. Particularly encouraged are collaborative projects that bring together actors from local authorities with commercial enterprises, social actors and/or scientific institutions within the selected region.

Funding is granted in the form of a non-repayable project grant on the basis of project-related eligible costs. The funding period is between one and three years. According to De-minimis guidelines, the maximum funding amount per project partner is €200,000. BMEL will not support projects with a budget below €100,000. The minimum funding amount per project partner is €25,000.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process, with an initial invitation for outline proposals followed by the submission of a full, formal funding application for selected projects.

The deadline for outline proposals is 4 September 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)