Promoting sustainable Mediterranean food systems for good nutrition and health – MEDINA

Submission summary

Food security is based on three pillars: quantity, quality and culture in respect of the right to food. Food and nutrition security must ensure the good coverage of nutritional requirements for health maintenance and disease prevention (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease). The prevalence of such diet-related diseases is high and increasing in the Mediterranean basin. In an area where natural resources already suffer from climate and population pressures, the agro-food systems thus more than ever have to deal with the need for quality. Based on several studies, especially the ‘Seven Countries Study’, the Mediterranean diet became a model of healthy diet to prevent coronary heart diseases. However, although many Mediterranean products are available, their share in the population’s diet has impressively dropped during the last decades. A good coverage of nutrient requirements is based on foods with a high nutritional density that can be attained by a higher consumption of diverse Mediterranean traditional foods. In the current context of widespread consumption of energy-dense/nutrient-poor foods, a valorisation of the nutritional qualities of Mediterranean foods becomes an important issue for the agro-food system. Besides nutritional quality, foods include many other dimensions such as hedonism, convenience, safety, plus environmental and social requirements, and all are important to integrate in order to achieve sustainable food systems capable of sustaining food security and health. Our project addresses the following questions: how to ensure quantitative and qualitative food security in the Mediterranean countries? What would be the impacts on the organization of food chains, from the distribution up to the production sector? How to keep a place for locally produced traditional Mediterranean foods in a context of strong urbanization and globalization of the agro-food trade?
Medina project is based on the idea that the food supply is a major determinant of the consumption behaviours. From there, the objective of the project is to build scenarios and propose solutions to maximise agro-food chains’ contribution to human health and nutrition in a sustainable way. The first originality of Medina project is the “fork to farm” approach. We propose to work on existing data from surveys obtained in three contrasted areas in terms of food systems and consumption behaviours: South-East of France (the Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions), the ‘Greater Tunis’ metropolis urban zone and the ‘Sidi Bouzid’ rural area in central Tunisia. Other data will be generated on foods (nutritional quality, prices, carbon and water footprints) and on food chain systems (socio-economical data). The second originality is the use of combination of modelling tools (linear programming and computable general equilibrium models) to integrate collected data and generates scenarios. To achieve our objective, Medina consortium was built to get a multidisciplinary expertise in nutrition, food science, agronomy and economy. The project is divided into 4 main tasks: (T1) data collection on food consumption and characterization: extraction of existing data, generation of primary data, harmonization and aggregation for use in models (T2) model building for integration (T3) analysis of food chains for nutritional added value at various stages (T4) data integration and elaboration of scenarios and feasible solutions for better nutrition and health in the different situations. Finally, we propose to disseminate results to target groups (international scientific community; economic stakeholders along the food chains, agriculture, food and health policy and decision makers, the general public, higher education institutes).

Project coordination

Marie Josèphe AMIOT-CARLIN (Nutrition, Obésité et Risque Thrombotique) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Montpellier SupAgro Centre International d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques
INNTA Institut National de Nutrition et de Technologie Alimentaire
AGROPOLIS Agropolis International
BIOVERSITY Bioversity International
INAT Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie
UREN Unité d'épidémiologie nutritionnelle
Qualisud Démarche intégrée pour l'obtention d'aliments de qualité
Moisa Marchés, organisations, institutions et stratégies d'acteurs
Nutripass Prévention des malnutritions et des pathologies associées
NORT Nutrition, Obésité et Risque Thrombotique

Help of the ANR 584,527 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2013 - 48 Months

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