Rapid response on food waste needed from all actors


29 September – International Day of Awareness of Food Loss & Waste

Food waste remains a major issue in Europe and at global level. Over 930 million tonnes of food sold to households, retailers, restaurants and other food services are thrown away every year according to the latest estimates[1]; and that is beyond all the food lost during production and distribution. Despite mounting pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of our diets, if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country in the world[2],  causing more greenhouse gases than any single countries in the world except China and the US.

On September 29th, on the occasion of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr Laura Fernández Celemín, Director General of the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), said:

‘’Food waste is a growing problem we need to tackle urgently across the food supply chain: throwing away food spoils valuable resources, causes excess carbon dioxide emissions intensifying the climate crisis, while putting a further strain on food security.

To get a grip on food waste, we must involve all actors that can bring change, from farmers to retailers, national governments, multilateral institutions, NGOs, as well as citizens’’.

The international day is a call to action to both policymakers and the private sector to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems.

In contribution, EUFIC, a consumer-oriented non-profit organisation working to empower healthier and more sustainable diets and lifestyles, launches today a month-long social media action and awareness campaign providing citizens with robust information on how every simple action at home can make a positive contribution to the larger challenge.

Under the banner A science-based hack a day, keeps food waste away – a 30-day journey to reduce food waste at home”, citizens are invited to broaden their awareness of the impact of food waste, learn new food management skills and obtain practical tips to improve their own food waste habits, boosting people’s motivation and knowledge to actively become a part of the solution. Food waste is currently responsible for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The issue is the focus of the United Nations Sustainable Development goal (SDGs) 12.3, aiming to, by 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

UNEP’s 2021 Food Waste Index Report measured 931 million tonnes of food sold to households, retailers, restaurants and other food services each year; this means 17% of all food available at consumer level is currently wasted.

Food waste measurement all along the supply chain is a priority

Improving food waste measurement is crucial all along the supply chain, to make sure all actors involved play their role and bring the change needed. According to the recent Driven to Waste report from WWF and Tesco, in particular farm-stage food loss is a significant but neglected food waste hotspot. The report finds that 1.2 billion tonnes of food is wasted on farms each year – enough to feed the world’s 870 million undernourished four times over, adding substantially to the 931 million tonnes wasted from retail, food service and households.

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