A comparative assessment of local municipal food policy integration in the Netherlands

Sibbing, Lara; Candel, Jeroen; Termeer, Katrien


Local governments around the world increasingly engage in food governance, aiming to address food system challenges such as obesity, food waste, or food insecurity. However, the extent to which municipalities have actually integrated food across their policies remains unknown. This study addresses this question by conducting a medium-n systematic content analysis of local food policy outputs of 31 Dutch municipalities. Policy outputs were coded for the food goals and instruments adopted by local governments. Our analysis shows that most municipalities integrate food to a limited extent only, predominantly addressing health and local food production or consumption. Furthermore, municipalities seem hesitant to use coercive instruments and predominantly employ informative and organizational instruments. Nonetheless, a small number of municipalities have developed more holistic approaches to address food challenges. These cities may prove to be a leading group in the development of system-based approaches in Dutch local food policy.