The Metropolitan Region Amsterdam (MRA) is comprised of 32 municipalities, two provinces (North Holland and Flevoland) and the Transport Authority Amsterdam. Around 2.5 million people, more than 14 per cent of the Dutch population, live within the MRA.
It is home to many talented and entrepreneurial individuals, a wide diversity of business activity, good infrastructure by land, air and water, excellent digital connectivity and a broad palette of living and working environments. Because of the good knowledge infrastructure, the highly educated workforce and the great accessibility the MRA forms a leading economic region. De many economic sectors show a strong dynamic because of their innovative strength and international orientation.
Within this region, the City of Amsterdam (capital of the Netherlands) shows a magnetic pull. To this very day, the international success of Amsterdam has an impact on the region and the attractiveness of Amsterdam is determined largely by a well-functioning surrounding network.
Many of the challenges facing the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam require a regional approach. The complexity of the challenges is significant and comprises the entire region. The need for an urban food environment that makes healthy and sustainable food available, affordable and attractive for all citizens is an example of these challenges.
Tourism is an important economic sector for the MRA, the MRA accommodates 42% of the nationwide hotel stays (before Covid). With Amsterdam being the capital city of the Netherlands, it is the city with the most horeca establishments in the Netherlands. More than halve of all horeca establishments in the MRA are located in Amsterdam.
• 35 authorities: 32 municipalities, 2 provinces and the Transport Authority Amsterdam
• 7 sub-regions
• 2.5 million inhabitants, more than 14 per cent of the Dutch population
• 300,000 businesses
• 1.5 million jobs
• 26 million overnight stays per year
Agriculture and Food
Due to the unique composition of businesses in the food industry in the center of a densely populated area, a good variation of agricultural businesses in the provinces Flevoland and North Holland and a strong fisheries sector, the MRA has become an important food region in the Netherlands. The Agri & Food sector is of great economic importance for the MRA. The sector is de largest manufacturing sector of the country and also plays an important role in other sectors.
Next to that, the MRA distinguishes itself by the great number of innovative start-ups and social initiatives in terms of food.
In the Netherlands, roughly 2 billion kilo of food is wasted annually (source: Monitor Foodwaste Update 2009-2018).
The Dutch Agri & Food sector is innovative and very efficient. Consequently, the amount of food waste for which this sector is responsible is very low compared to other countries. However, it should not be forgotten that it still contributes to achieving the goals set in SDG 12.3.
In many cities in the MRA the general waste consists for 25% of food and food packaging materials. In the Netherlands, the wastage of solid food (excluding beverages, but including thick liquids and dairy products) in households is estimated at 34,3 kilo per person per year. This means that consumers are responsible for approximately 23% to 32% of all food waste. The horeca is responsible for 14% of all food waste and supermarkets/retail for 5%. (Source: Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling)
Currently the MRA is already involved in the following food waste prevention initiatives:
Wasteless Week – Foundation ‘Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling’
Once a year, the City of Amsterdam participates in the national Wasteless Week. During this week, organizations, entrepreneurs, citizens, local initiatives and municipalities work together in the fight against food waste at consumer level.
Voedselbank (Food Bank)
Food banks distribute food for free to those who are struggling to provide enough food for themselves. Next to this objective, they also strive to prevent food waste by collecting surplus food from supermarkets, companies, organizations and private parties.
InstockMarket collects left over products from growers, producers and intermediaries after which the horeca can purchase these products at a relatively good price. Next to that, 20% of their products is donated to charities such as local food banks.
BuurtBuik is a social initiative in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam that prepares free meals of rescued food from local supermarkets, horeca and retailers. By doing that, they create a social environment where local residents who need support can meet and enjoy a healthy meal.
Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go created an app where entrepreneurs (supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants) can sell their left over food for a reduced price to consumers. Next to that, they tackle public affairs, establish education and courses and closely work together with households and companies.
Leftover bread to the food bank, orange peels as raw material for soap or use inedible parts of sugar beet in the chemical sector. Voedsel Verbindt converts what is unavoidable into green fuels such as green gas and heat for the energy transition and rich compost for healthy agricultural soils. In a circular food economy, we maximize the use of raw materials, opt for reuse more often and avoid food waste as much as possible.
Interest in joining FOODRUS
The Metropolitan Region Amsterdam has aligned its objectives regarding food waste with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 12.3). Therefore, the MRA strives to diminish food waste with 50% by 2030. Facilitating and organizing collaboration with stakeholders is crucial in order to achieve this objective. FoodRUs provides a unique opportunity to learn from other European cities and to create an environment for collaboration and co-creation.
Target group: Consumer and horeca
As mentioned before, the Dutch consumer is responsible for approximately 23% to 32% of all food waste and the horeca is responsible for 14% of all food waste. Therefore, focus will mainly be put on these target groups. However, we will also keep an eye on the developments in other target groups such as retail and production.
Product group: Not determined yet
Bread (7,3kg), dairy products (5,1kg), vegetables (3,7kg), fruit (3kg) and potatoes (2,9kg) are shown te be thrown away the most by Dutch households (per person per year). Food waste derived from Dutch households causes approximately 131kg CO2-eq per person per year. 38% of that 131 kg is due to meat and processed meat. Dairy products (15%), sauces and fats (10%), vegetables and fruit (9%) and bread (8%) cause the largest contribution to emission after meat. (Source: Stichting Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling)
Vision for future
The MRA strives to create a sustainable, regional and circular food system. As our vision is aligned with the objective of SDG 12.3, we aim to diminish the amount of food waste with 50% by 2030.
Next to that, many different and great initiatives are set up in the MRA that contribute to preventing and diminishing food waste. We want to bring all these different efforts, strengths and insights together within the entire food chain and promote collaboration in order to create one regional force that works towards the same objective.
A description of the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam (Read)
Voedsel Verbindt is an activating platform that provides an overview of relevant Agri & Food initiatives, developments, projects and parties from the MRA. Voedsel Verbindt has signed the letter of support for FoodRUs and is therefore the leading organization for the MRA. (Read)
The City of Amsterdam has included food in its policy. Food waste is one of the focus points within this strategy. (Read)
Van Amsterdamse Bodem is the platform from which you can find your way through the food landscape of Amsterdam and learn more about food and urban agriculture, food initiatives and food events in Amsterdam. (Read)
The Food Council MRA is a non-profit organization that focuses on developing a sustainable, healthy food environment accessible and affordable for everyone. Through different types of projects they connect initiatives to jointly create solutions for the food challenges. (Read)