Fооd quality and health

Europeans enjoy a high quality and plentiful supply of varied crops, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Research and development and plant breeding innovation are major drivers for the elaboration of improved plant varieties that better meet consumer demands and address some of the key challenges we face in our diets.

Why do we need new plant varieties?

  • to ensure that healthy, nutritious and tasty food is on our plate
  • to make our diets more varied and wholesome, contributing to a healthier life style
  • to meet ever increasing quality standards regarding nutrition value, as well as taste, flavour, odour and colour
  • to ensure greater availability of affordable produce, and make it available all year around, and with a longer shelf-life

How can we get improved plant varieties?

Plant science research, in essence the constant increase in the scientific knowledge of plants and their interaction with the environment, underpins modern agriculture today. A scientific approach to plant breeding, with high investment in research and development, has triggered an unprecedented acceleration of progress, and compares favourably to what farmers would have achieved if they’d only selected from their own harvests.

In short, research and development in plant breeding brings yield increase, disease resistance, resistance to extreme weather conditions and develops specific traits for dedicated uses. These traits can also include plant characteristics, such as better taste, shape or aroma, but it can go further than that, and enhance nutritious content such as minerals, fibre, antioxidants or vitamins or by developing gluten free or gluten safe crops.

Plant breeders and researchers work hard to provide a wide variety and choice of plant-based food options that can meet consumers’ expectations. In fact, plant breeding is one of the most effective routes to better nutrition and improved global health.