Despite the recurring discourse on food systems and their sustainability in the Mediterranean region, compre-hensive studies are hard to find. Therefore, this article provides an overview on the challenges and perspectives of food systems in the Mediterranean. In particular, the paper addresses the main challenges (environmental, economic, socio-cultural and nutrition-health) facing Mediterranean food systems; analyses the multifaceted relations between sustainable food systems (SFS) and sustainable diets by exploring the example of the Medi-terranean diet; and briefly presents the relevance of the innovation for Mediterranean food systems. The paper highlights the urgency of action to move towards sustainable and resilient food systems in the Mediterranean area. This is particularly relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. For that, there is a need for shared policy, governance, practice and research agenda. In this respect, the contribution of CIHEAM results fundamental. The paper concludes by highlighting the disruptive potential of the SFS-Med Platform – under co-development by CIHEAM, FAO and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) – to foster food systems trans-formation towards sustainability and accelerate the achievement of SDGs in the region.