In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of ‘Food Waste ’, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in the briefing.
– The Council of the European Union: Food losses and food waste
The Council expresses its concerns about a significant amount of food being produced but not
eaten: the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that
nearly a third (1.3 billion tonnes a year) of all the food intended for human consumption is
lost or wasted between the farm and the fork.1 This high level of inefficiency has major
economic, social, and environmental impacts, as highlighted also in the recent United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel study ‘Food Systems and
The global food system puts significant pressure on the world’s natural resources and is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a large amount of the food produced by this system is either lost or wasted each year, lowering overall productivity and hurting both producers and consumers. According to a recentblog by IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan, as much as one billion tons of food never reaches consumers. Thus, food loss and waste pose a significant challenge for both food security and sustainability, important goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG target 12.3, in fact, calls for halving global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along the food value chain by 2030.
In the recent book, “Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change” by John Mandyck and Eric Schultz, the authors detail the causes and consequences of the $1 trillion mountain of food that is wasted around the world each year. The book explains that a large percentage of global food waste occurs in developing countries, primarily because of poor infrastructure and dysfunctional distribution networks. Up to half of the food grown or produced in the developing world actually never makes it to market. And that loss is costing billions of dollars and blighting countless lives. It also offers solution. Quick fixes can work t reduce food waste. For example, in Kenya, using crates, instead of burlap bags to transport their tomatoes prevents them from bruising on the way to market and in turn cuts down food waste.
The House of Lords, along with 16 member states, sent a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker demanding that the EU crack down on food waste. An estimated 89 million tonnes of food are wasted across Europe every year and estimations suggest that this could rise to 126 million tonnes by 2020 if no action is taken. Globally, as much as half of all the food produced – equivalent to 2 billion tonnes – ends up as waste every year, according to the report Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not from 2013. Lawmakers have proposed a ‘Green Card’ on the issue, which asks for a range of actions to cut down on waste. It includes better EU-wide guidelines on food donation and stronger monitoring of cross-border supply chains. Baroness Scott, chair of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee in the House of Lords said, “food waste is a huge issue, not just for us in the UK, but across Europe. With these 16 national parliaments signed up, we have shown the European Commission that there is a real collective desire to work together to tackle this problem.”
In Berlin, the Prinzessinnengärten, started the campaign “Leere Tonne” on Friday 3 July. Leere Tonne (empty garbage cans) is an initiative of Aktion Agrar, foodsharing.de and Slow Food Youth Germany. Supported by the filmmaker Valentin Thurn (“Taste the Waste, “10 Milliarden”), Raphael Fellmer and many committed activists, this campaign calls for the ban on supermarkets wasting food. The initiative demands a law after the French example that prohibits grocery stores from throwing away unsold food. Supermarkets in France have to choose other solutions such as discounts on unsold food, the free distribution to charitable organizations or use the food as animal feed.
A delegation from Rwanda – comprised of 15 horticulture companies and two high-level representatives of the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) – shall visit the Netherlands for a B2B trip on the sidelines of the ‘No More Food to Waste’ conference, 15-17 June. Rwandan State Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources, Mrs. Gerardine Mukeshimana led the delegation and was also kenote speaker at the conference. Minister Mukeshimana spoke of the aim to reduce food losses by bringing together global stakeholders from knowledge institutes, governments, NGO’s and the private sector. The program also included company visits, workshops and a B2B session, organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council in cooperation with Greenport Holland International. The Rwandan companies visiting the Netherlands are active in the production, trade, and processing of agricultural produce (mostly fruit & vegetables, incl. chili peppers, mangos, avocados, French beans and bananas) and distribution of machinery and input-supplies like seed and fertilizers.
– G-20 Agriculture Ministers Warn of Global Food Wastage
ICTSD, 13 May 2015
Agriculture ministers from the G-20 group of major advanced and emerging economies have warned that global food wastage could have devastating consequences for food security, nutrition, and the use of natural resources and the environment, following a 7-8 May meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul. “We highlight this as a global problem of enormous economic, environmental, and societal significance and encourage all G-20 members to strengthen their efforts to address it,” they said in their final communiqué. With the global population set to hit nine billion by 2050, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that global food supply must increase by at least 60 percent to meet this higher demand. Members of the G-20 produced 68.7 percent of the world’s food in 2013. However, feeding this growing population is becoming increasingly challenging, due partly to the impact of food waste and loss, referred to together as wastage, as well as the impact of climate change and the pressures being placed on natural resources and biodiversity.
– A new approach to reducing food waste in West Africa
news.mogabay.com, 28 May 2015
Since achieving independence, West African countries have strived for regional integration. By building strong political and economic ties, the 15 member nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aimed to maximize economic development and minimize inter-country conflict. The ECOWAS Commission has also made food security a central focus of cooperation: through liberalizing trade between member states, it aims to promote market efficiency and expand opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs across the region. In the agriculture sector, the free flow of trade could mean more food in the markets and less in the waste bin (approx. 1.3bn tonnes per year). Historically, government responses to hunger have focused on increasing agricultural production. Yet statistics show that effective control of post-harvest losses (approx. $4 bn per year) would virtually eliminate the need to grow more food. The ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy aims to integrate the agriculture sector and ensure food security for the entire region. Authorities are also trying to improve implementation of the Trade Liberalization Scheme, which decrees free market access among member states.
–Why frozen and canned vegetables reduce food waste
Food industry leaders have called upon policymakers to acknowledge the contribution frozen and canned vegetables can make to reducing food waste. Senior representatives from Europe’s leading frozen and canned vegetable producers met with opinion formers and decision makers from Global and EU institutions, to hear how long established Food Preservation Methods such as freezing and canning have been overlooked as critical enablers in the battle to reduce levels of Food Waste. Frozen and canned vegetables have a considerably longer shelf life than chilled or fresh food; without the need to add preservatives. Research has shown that these products can play a crucial role in helping Europeans reduce their spiralling levels of food waste in the home.
– Supermarkets to combat food waste
freshplaza.com, April 2015
In the entire food chain, 2 billion Euro worth of food is wasted every week. In Dutch supermarkets alone, €1 million is wasted every day, mainly vegetables, fruit, bread and dairy. How can supermarkets ensure that food waste is limited?
Approximately 32 % of all food produced in the world was lost or wasted in 2009, according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates. This equates to approximately 24% of all food produced. Food loss positively correlates with economic and environmental losses, which have global impacts e.g. unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and inefficiently used water and land, which in turn can lead to diminished natural ecosystems and the services they provide. This report details 5 strategic recommendations which could turn around the continued state of play of food loss today. These include: 1. Develop food loss and waste measurement protocol; 2. Set food loss and waste reduction targets; 3. Increase investment in reducing postharvest losses in developing countries; 4. Create entities devoted to food waste in developed countries; 5. Accelerate and support collaborative initiatives to reduce food loss and waste.
– UK: Smart labels launched to help businesses reduce food waste in supply chain
hortidaily.com, 28 October 2014
A new intelligent label that helps businesses know when to rotate food stock has been launched by Scotland’s Insignia Technologies. When a Stock Rotation smart label is attached to a box or pallet of fresh produce, it starts to change colour over a pre-calibrated period of time. This means that at any point in the supply chain it is possible to see how fresh the fruit, vegetables, meat or dairy goods are in the box.
– New online platform fosters efforts to curb food losses through information sharing
hortidaily.com, 28 October 2014
Global Community of Practice on food losses is launched by Rome-based UN agencies. Attempts to reduce food losses and waste, which account for one third of food produced for human consumption, have received a boost through a new online platform that brings together for the first time a range of resources and allows stakeholders to share experiences and best practices. The Global Community of Practice (CoP) on Food Loss Reduction is launched jointly by the three Rome-based United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme. The platform is part of “Mainstreaming Food Loss Reduction for Smallholders in Food Deficit Areas,” an ongoing project by FAO, IFAD and WFP which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
– No more rotten crops: six smart inventions to prevent harvest loss crops
theguardian.com, 27 October 2014
Damage to crops costs farmers in the developing world up to 50% of their produce. Can these innovations improve yields? Post-harvest losses are estimated to remove as much as 50% of crops from the food supply in developing countries. Moisture, infestation and rotting are major problems for farmers and processors, leading to reduced income and aggravating hunger. Research and private sector organisations are coming up with solutions to combat post-harvest losses.
– Food – Thou Shall Not Waste
“Only two years ago, the soup kitchen was serving 50 meals a day. Today the number has almost doubled and, what is even more worrying, we have started receiving families with children,” says Donatella Turri, director of the Caritas Diocese of Lucca. The paradox is that the lengthening queues at the Lucca soup kitchen come against a backdrop of increasing food loss and waste. Turri has no doubts concerning the impact of the current economic crisis on Italian families in terms of food security – “we call it ‘poverty of the third week’.” If our goal is to feed the planet, we cannot simply increase production and keep losing and wasting one-third of it. Our first commandment needs to be ‘thou shall not waste’ – Andrea Segré, President of Last Minute Market
– Sainsbury’s store powered by food waste
A Sainsbury’s superstore is being powered directly by its own food waste, the first time a retailer has come off the National Grid to power a store. The store at Cannock, Staffordshire, already sends all its food waste to the UK’s largest anaerobic digestion plant. The facility, run by Biffa, turns food waste into bio methane gas, which is then used to generate electricity. But now, a 1.5km cable has been installed linking the plant to the nearby superstore.
-Nigeria: Industry innovates to reduce post-harvest wastage
Source: businessdayonline.com 12-17-2013
Venus Processing and Packaging Limited (VPPL), member of Primlaks Group, has launched its Sympli range of individually quick frozen fruits (IQF) and vegetables in Lagos with a view to cutting down wastage resulting from post-harvest storage.
The products, which included Nigerian chillies like ‘atarodo,’ ‘sombo’ and ‘tatase’; local delicacies like ‘yam fries’, ‘yam chunks’ and ‘dodo,’ as well as fruits like pineapple, papaya and mango, were unveiled at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel, last Monday.
– New Effort Launched to Measure and Monitor Global Food Loss and Waste
World Resources Institute, 21 October 2013
The World Resources Institute (WRI) announced the first step in designing a global standard for measuring food loss and waste. The forthcoming guidance, called the “Food Loss and Waste Protocol,” will enable countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains in a credible, practical, and consistent manner. The announcement was made at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) conference in Copenhagen, with the leaders of UN Environment Programme (UNEP), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), WRI, and others. The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) also participated in the forum.
– International Year of Family Farming: Reducing Food Waste Among Smallholder Farmers in Kenya
Foodtank, 13 September 2013
For many smallholder farmers in Kenya, “food waste” is a completely foreign concept. Most are toiling by hand to cultivate small pieces of land, eking out a few bags of grain each harvest. Those few bags will feed their families for less than half of the year. The grain inside is consumed before it rots or becomes infested by pests—the major causes of post-harvest loss. In fact, rotting and pest infestation are minor concerns in comparison to the overarching concern of many smallholder farmers: the hunger season.
– Waste Not, Want Not, Incentivise Not: What to do about food waste?
Development horizons, 10 January 2013
Yesterday the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (“the fastest growing professional engineering institution in the UK. Our 100,000 members work at the heart of the country’s most important and dynamic industries.” – from the website) released a report on the extent of food waste, the drivers and what to do about it. The report was written by Dr. Tim Fox and a team of other mechanical engineers. The report says that food waste estimates range from 30-50% of all food grown. The UK Government’s Foresight Report says 30% is the estimate.
– Presentation of Tristram Stuart at TED: The global food waste scandal
TED, 14 September 2012
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
– Discarding food vs. starving people – Inefficient and immoral?
Ulrich Koester, CAP Reform, 28 Aug 2012
Intensive discussions in Germany about discarding food in recent weeks were prompted by a University of Stuttgart study commissioned by the German Bundestag and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection. Spiegel online said on March 13, 2012: “Europe’s waste would suffice twice to feed the world’s hungry.”