This introductory article presents the three main challenges faced in economics to issues raised by dietary models. The first part of this paper examines the dietary models that maximise the health profile of a population under various constraints, including environmental and agronomic criteria. The second part introduces the possibilities of economic modelling to complement these dietary models, despite the limitations of economic approaches. The third part suggests new research proposals by asserting that overlooked questions deserve further scrutiny. We emphasise that economic models are particularly useful to analyse trade-offs between the various objectives underlying a sustainable food system. However, possible improvements should tackle: first, possible substitutions between foods categories by consumers; second, adjustments in supply chains; and third, measures of inequality resulting from significant changes towards sustainability. Such improvements may be difficult to realize but are technically possible.
TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1118, June 2020