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EUFIC urges action to reduce global levels of food waste

The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is using the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste to call on policymakers, the private sector and the public to prioritise food waste reduction.

The body stresses the need for action, advising investment into innovation designed to curtail food loss, as well as the restoration of resilient food systems. Approximately 930 million tonnes of produce end up in the waste stream annually, beyond the stages of production and distribution, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021. This translates to 17 per cent of all food available at consumer level ending up as waste.

Food wasteIn response to this mounting issue, besides encouraging government intervention, EUFIC is launching today (29 September) a month-long social media action and awareness campaign, targeted at the general public. The body states that it will provide citizens with ‘robust information’ highlighting the ‘simple actions’ that can be taken in order to reduce levels of domestic food waste.

EUFIC asserts that the initiative, titled “A science-based hack a day, keeps food waste away – a 30-day journey to reduce food waste at home", will invite the general public to broaden their awareness of the impact of food waste; acquire new food-management skills; and obtain practical knowledge of handling food refuse.

The organisation is also using this year’s International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste to stress that food waste measurement all along the supply chain should be a priority. It is crucial, EUFIC argues, to ensure that all actors within the chain reduce their wastage wherever possible. This comes in light of the recent Driven to Waste report, delivered by WWF and Tesco, that unveiled the reality of the global food waste problem. One focus of the study was on farm-stage food loss, which is considered a significant yet often neglected wastage hotspot, in which 1.2 billion tonnes of produce ends up as refuse annually. This adds substantially to the 931 million tonnes of food wasted from retail, food service, and households, EUFIC argues.

The issue of food wastage is the focus of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3. It aims to halve global food waste per capita at both retail and consumer levels by 2030, as well as reducing food losses across production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

Dr Laura Fernández Celemín, Director General of EUFIC, commented: ‘’Food waste is a growing problem we need to tackle urgently across the food supply chain: throwing away food spoils valuable resources, causing excess carbon dioxide emissions which intensifies 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’’.