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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the nature and the main dimensions of the transition in European food systems. We examine the main stylized facts in the evolution of food final demand as well as the structural changes and firms' strategies at different stages of food systems. We find the existence of a process of convergence towards an EU food system. Such a process is the result of two main determinants. First, there is a convergence towards a common European consumer who increasingly demands a variety of healthier food products and reveals growing concerns for food safety issues. A second crucial factor is the role played by food retailers in determining the convergence of European competitive environments. We show that retailers' consolidation and strategies affect and determine structural changes at all stages of food system. Finally, the paper examines the new policy implications of these changes and suggests some areas and topics which are likely to become increasingly relevant for future research.

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