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Food waste figures available for 9 EU countries

One of the main aims of the FOODRUS project is to test innovative solutions to reduce food waste (FW) across three key value chains: vegetables, bread, and fish & meat products. But how much food waste is currently generated across these three value chains?

This is not yet known as systematic measuring and monitoring is one of the key challenges to be addressed by all European food chain actors. However, preliminary data has emerged on total food waste figures (hence including all types of food) for 9 EU countries. These regions are partners and collaborators of the FOODRUS project and they have collected – either from existing data or through best estimates – quantitative data on annual food waste generated at the household (HH) level and, more generally, across the whole food supply chain (FSC) in their respective countries.

The countries for which data are available are: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. The available figures are presented in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Preliminary food waste data at household and food value chain levels.

 

Results show three key findings. First, there exist a considerable variability across EU countries in the total volume of food waste generated at both value chain level (72-208 kg/pp/year) and household level (28-80 kg/pp/year). Second, a subsequent level of variability is also detected when comparing the ratio of FW at HH level to total food waste, with relative percentages varying from 29 to 49%. Third, most regions participating in the data collection process have shared a common challenge, that of being able to quantify food waste through existing data, differentiating across food waste generated at different supply chain stages.

While currently being hampered by the availability of reliable and validated data on food waste, this preliminary results show two good news. The first one is that it is possible to monitor and quantify food waste across the FSC actors by following the example of front-runner regions. To this end FOODRUS’ Austrian partner Business Upper Austria was able to provide data for the 5 main FSC stages of primary production, wholesale, retail, horeca, and household. This was also the case for the Danish FOODRUS partners. The second good news is that there is ample room for improvement in the per capita food waste reduction effort at the HH level and across the whole supply chain. By joining forces and sharing best practices across pilot and Associated Regions, the FOODRUS project will work towards providing the right tools to achieve this aim.

To respond to the need for a food waste monitoring system that can be applied widely, FOODRUS partners are currently working on a standardized methodology that can support this assessment. The tool will be used to assess the baseline situation of food waste generation in the pilot countries, and to monitor progress towards FW reduction during and by the end of the project.

For further info, please contact ACR+.

CIRCULAR SOLUTIONS FOR RESILIENT FOOD SYSTEMS