The Forward Look European Food Systems in a Changing World is a multidisciplinary initiative, jointly supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the intergovernmental initiative European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST). At its thematic heart is food security in which food systems play a pivotal role. Food systems not only contribute to providing safe and healthy food; in a broader context they also contribute to an increasing number of environmental and societal goals. This Forward Look will develop appropriate scenarios based on the desire to produce safe foods in a sustainable and equitable way over a medium-term perspective (25-40 years). Developing such scenarios requires the involvement of both many scientific disciplines and a broad range of different stakeholders in the food chain. The scenarios activity will raise awareness within Europe about food security and other issues of societal concern and help structure the debate between science and policy in the food area.