BMBF Future Food Commons (FuFoCo)

Sharing Economy in food system supply - new models of consumer-producer interaction, trends and impacts

The focus of this research project is the consumer area of nutrition. Changes in the area of new, flexible forms of consumer-producer interaction (KPI) are already emerging here, challenging traditional models of ownership and consumption.

The foresight process of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) showed that these forms of consumer-producer interactions are social innovations and that these sharing economy practices challenge the existing economy. While consumers in established systems are largely decoupled from production, the new sharing concepts present themselves as different constellations of KPIs, which are accompanied by shortening of the food chain, the application of sustainable production processes and the adaptation of production innovations. Models such as commons, community and rented gardens, or solidarity-based agriculture rely on new, flexible levels of interaction by involving consumers in the production process and the communal sustainable use and sharing of resources, especially land, labor, means of production, money, but also knowledge. In the context of a paradigm shift, these new sharing concepts can gain considerably in importance and entail significant potential, but also risks, for sustainable development, prosperity and quality of life.

The main focus of this project lies in answering the following research questions:

  • How can the new consumption and ownership models in food production be systematized?
  • What are the potentials and risks for sustainable development, prosperity and quality of life in the various KPI constellations in food production?
  • How do perspective development potentials present themselves under different scenario perspectives?

By a future-oriented view of the novel concepts of food production, potentials, risks and scope for design are worked out. In addition, management needs are identified to support the transformation process to sustainable management. The research questions are elaborated along the following four main areas of work:

  1. Characterization and systematization of consumer-producer interactions (KPI);
  2. Scenario drafts for the future of new models of food production;
  3. Assessment of innovation and technology impacts on sustainability, prosperity and quality of life;
  4. Control needs and models of internal and external governance.

The research results on novel concepts of food production will be prepared in a structured way and will be processed and made available to scientific experts as well as to practitioners and the interested public along the entire research project.

Fraunhofer ISI is leading the development of future scenarios of new models of food production in work package 2, with the aim of showing how the new consumption and ownership models in the food sector, which were analyzed in detail in work package 1, could develop in the long term and what implications the different development paths have for the socio-economic environment in urban and rural areas. The future scenarios provide a basis for deriving the opportunities and risks of flexible consumption and ownership models in work package 3 and for developing options for action for today in work package 4. At the same time, the scenarios form a catalyst for future-oriented discourses in which different groups of actors can discuss their expectations and develop a common understanding.


08/2015 − 07/2017


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V. (Koordination)