Making the transition to a circular economy requires a radical transformation of various production chains. The food chain is just one – see Figure 21. Various policy areas are faced with the task of precipitating this transition to a circular food system, for example, in agriculture, the environment, trade, green growth, top sectors and innovation. In order to illustrate such plans, some cities have drawn up a spatial vision for circular economy (see Figure 22).
Firstly, in a circular economy, natural resources must be effectively used and managed. Such resources include soil, water and biodiversity, but also minerals. These resources are essential to be able to produce renewable resources. Secondly, optimum use of food is important. Reducing food waste is an important starting point in this context, as is a diet with less highly processed food, or more vegetable protein and less animal protein.
Also important is a reduced use of natural resources and less environmental pressure. Finally, it is important to make optimum use of residue streams, such as tomato stalks, beet pulp and stale bread. In this way, as biomass rest streams can be recycled towards high value products such as proteins, cosmetics, pharmaceutics or taste improving ingredients (see Figure 23).
All three of these requirements demand action to be able to bring about the transition to a circular food system (PBL Policy Brief 2017).