Understanding the System of Analysis

Understanding the system of analysis is a critical conceptual stage in the foresight process. This will involve the creation of a conceptual or analytical framework of analysis for the situation of concern, identifying the boundaries and relationships between the actors. A systems map developed for understanding global level drivers and system outcomes is presented below. This illustrates how using a systems approach allows for the consideration of the impact of driving forces on food system activities and outcomes.

Taking the food system approach then requires an understanding of the system ‘drivers’ (influences on food system activities and outcomes), identifying the activities of relevance (producing, processing, storing, distributing, consuming & disposing), the interests and relationships of the ‘actors’ doing the activities, and how the consequences of the activities impact on food availability, access, and utilization. The food system should ‘deliver’ ultimately on food and nutritional security, socio-economic welfare, and environmental sustainability.

See below for a framework for the food systems. A detailed examination of the framework and the underlying data is under development.

Conceptual Frameworks:

Conceptual frameworks are developed to address specific situations, problems, or conceptual needs. The conceptual framework below was developed through an iterative stakeholder consultative process for the SUSFANS project for assessing the sustainability and food and nutrition security of the EU food system. This framework illustrates how the drivers impact specific food system actors, and includes the desired EU policy goals in the system.

SUSFANS Conceptual Framework for Assessing EU Sustainable FNS


Source: Zurek, M., Hebinck, A., Leip, A., Vervoort, J., Kuiper, M., Garrone, M., Havlík, P., Heckelei, T., Hornborg, S., Ingram, J. and Kuijsten, A., 2018. Assessing Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security of the EU Food System—An Integrated Approach. Sustainability, 10(11), p.4271.