In Europe, 90 million tons of food are wasted annually in the EU. (Source: "Food waste across EU27" by Bio Intelligence Service for European Commission (DG ENV), October 2010)
According to the study on "Food waste across EU27" by Bio Intelligence Service for European Commission, around 90 million tons of food are wasted every year in Europe excluding the food which is wasted at production stage (agricultural production, post-harvest handling and storage). It is estimated that 180 kg per person of food goes to waste in Europe (excluding the primary agricultural and fisheries production phases of the supply chain).
So, up to 50% of edible and healthy food gets wasted in EU households, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain every year.
If nothing is done, food wastage will grow 40% by 2020, says a study published by the European Commission.
According by the definition used by Bio IS study, food waste is composed of raw or cooked food materials and includes food loss before, during or after meal preparation in the household, as well as food discarded in the process of manufacturing, distribution, retail and food service activities. It comprises materials such as vegetable peelings, meat trimmings, and spoiled or excess ingredients or prepared food as well as bones, carcasses and organs.
It must be noted that in the manufacturing sector food waste is largely unavoidable (bones, carcasses and certain organs in meat products for example)
Pyramid of food waste
The European Directive 2008/98/CE on waste sets the basic concepts and definitions related to waste managament, such as definitions of waste, recycling, recovery. According to it, waste legislation and policy of the EU Member States shall apply as a priority order the following waste management hierarchy:
Food waste / Food Banks
Based on the above figures and considering that Food Bank interact primarily with manufacturers, caterers and retailers, FEBA member Food Banks would rescueless than 1% of the food quantity going to waste annually from those three segments.
Combining all the food assistance organizations which rescue food, this recovery number would hardly reach 10% of what is wasted.
Therefore the potential to reduce food waste in the future appears very important.
"Ideas That Feed" website (www.ideasthatfeed.org)
In a world where resources are even scarcer, recovering and re-using food make more sense.
Mobilizing society on the issue of food waste has been the hallmark of food banks across Europe for many years.
The most recent initiative taken by FEBA in this area is the launch of a best practice sharing platform among Food Banks throughout the world called "Ideas That Feed". This dedicated website which is open for consultation by companies and public audience presents examples of cooperation between food banks and corporations, charities, schools and universities, wholesale markets and agricultural organizations to fight against food waste to feed people in need.
Some initiatives from friend organizations to fight food waste
- Tips to reduce food waste
The European Commission is focusing its efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of the food chain on food waste minimisation and food packaging optimisation.
- Comparative overview of current legislation and practices concerning food donation (Bio by Deloitte, June 2014)This study commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee in 2014 provides a comparative overview of current legislation and practices concerning food donation in 12 EU Member States (the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Denmark and Sweden). Several FEBA Members were interviewed at that occasion.
The study maps key hurdles preventing food donation in five main legislative areas (product liability, food safety and hygiene, food durability and date marking, tax legislation, and the food waste hierarchy), identifies best practices and develops recommendations on how to legislate or interpret legislation in order to facilitate food donation.
- Save Food (FAO)
Save Food aims to drive innovations, promote interdisciplinary dialogue and spark off debates in order to generate solutions, across the entire value chain "from field to fork". By involving all actors. And on a broad front.
FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) is a EU funded research project which aims at achieving a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste across the whole supply chain from the fields to the plates.
The project brings together universities, knowledge institutes, consumer organisations and businesses to develop surveys, monitoring devices, pilot projects on social innovation and recommendations for national and EU regulations. The coordinator of the project is the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.
Our member, the Hungarian Food Bank Association, is one of the organizing partners in this research program.
You can follow the project on Fusions webpage and on Facebook.
The EU funded FoRWaRd project intends to develop a free online training plan for representatives of the food supply sector, a practical guide to help them starting a food waste reduction and recovery program at their facilities in favor of charitable associations.
Three FEBA members (Hungary, Poland Estonia) are part of the Forward consortium.
For more information please visit the website.
WRAP works, uniquely and by design, in the space between Governments, businesses, communities, innovative thinkers and individuals – forging partnerships and developing ground-breaking initiatives to help the UK use resources more sustainably. Its mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through re-inventing how they design, produce and sell products, re-thinking how they use and consume products, and re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.
The UK FEBA member, Fareshare, is a member of WRAP.
For more information, please visit the website.