National Plan for Balanced and Sustainable Food

Currently, with globalization, the standardization of eating habits and social inequalities, there is a growing threat to the Mediterranean Diet, defined as a healthy lifestyle and characterized by the strong relationship between food and its regional products.

In Portugal there has been an increase in more demanding consumers, attentive to the taste of food, its origin, its sanitary quality, its price and the environmental and social costs generated by its production and taking into account that food covers a range of of very varied issues, namely culinary traditions, access for all to quality food, guaranteeing food safety and public health, preserving our products, in particular indigenous products, preserving our agriculture and food industry, and consequently, to preserve the jobs they generate, as an integral part of a perspective of sustainable development, the need arose to create a Plan, of national scope, that having as foundations the axes Consumption, Production, Mediterranean Diet and Food Education and Literacy, would allow to promote the Mediterranean diet and a balanced, diversified and sustainable diet.

In this way, the National Plan for Balanced and Sustainable Food (PNAES) was born, within the scope of the “Terra Futura” Innovation Agenda, also taking into account the guidelines of the Food and Nutrition Security Council – Portugal (CONSAN-P)

The PNAES’ mission is to:

  • stimulate national production;
  • promote the adoption of more sustainable production and distribution systems, based on short supply chains and local food systems;
  • valuing quality endogenous products;
  • valuing and safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet, as a system and dietary pattern characteristic of the national territory, creating and promoting incentives for its adherence;
  • and raising awareness and advising consumers and the population in general on adopting a nutritionally balanced and informed diet.

And the Operational Objectives:

  • Foster the consumption of national, regional and local products, in balance with the principles of the Mediterranean Diet;
  • Improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and fight food insecurity;
  • Increase by 20%, by 2030, the level of adherence to the Mediterranean Diet;
  • Promoting and valuing endogenous products, certified quality products and the Mediterranean Diet;
  • Educate for a healthy and sustainable diet.

Within the scope of the PNAES and with funding of €5M, 22 initiatives at a regional level are being promoted, developed by partnerships led by Local Action Groups (LAG), which aim to provide the territories with a technical team, namely nutritionists and agronomists , capable of implementing an action plan to raise awareness and advise consumers and the population of rural areas, which promotes the adoption of healthy, affordable and sustainable food, reinforcing, with this instrument, what has been a long-term intervention by the LAGs

The common challenge of the 22 promoted initiatives is the dissemination and promotion of the Mediterranean Diet, in a coherent and convergent way, in the five regions of mainland Portugal, as a healthy lifestyle and food system and driving the development of rural territories.

In order for this mission to be carried out more effectively and efficiently, initiatives have the opportunity to resort to the use of a shared set of principles, tools and work instruments, and the option of working on common products.

In this way, it is intended to capitalize on experiences, optimize resources and increase the scale of intervention, through:

• capitalization of the contents already produced by the “O Prato Certo” project and other inspiring initiatives, enriched with the specificities of each territory integrated in the PNAES;

• the use of the collaborative platform complemented with the resources and contents of each PNAES territory;

• the creation of a separate space for each PNAES operation, its partnership and territories, on the collaborative platform;

• national expansion of the database of local and seasonal products, producers, market and baskets;

• production of collaborative content that capitalizes on the work already done, but which adds new content specific to each PNAES territory (Food Education Guide; Book of Recipes);

• deepening of other fields of cooperation, training and exchange of experiences

With the integration in the collaborative platform “O Prato Certo”, the initiatives will work on the information content on the Mediterranean Diet, on the information content that contributes to food literacy, on the seasonal calendar with individualized information about food, on the georeferenced Database, in recipes, tips, news and events and best practices.

All information regarding PNAES initiatives, such as their objectives and activities to be developed, are accessible at