Videos presenting FUSIONS feasibility studies are available on our website!
Find out more about these studies and discover how social innovation can help reduce food waste.
From transforming surplus fruits and vegetables into jams, chutneys and puree to the sound of music, to easing the process of food donation or setting up a social supermarket selling food that would have otherwise been wasted at reduced prices, you can now watch the leaders of these feasibility studies explaining in details their initiative fighting food waste here : http://www.eu-fusions.org/social-innovations, under the tab “more information”.
Ugly fruit has taken Europe by storm. The rejection of fruit and vegetables for sale based on appearance impacts food waste across the supply chain, as perfectly good and edible produce remains uneaten. However, since the EU revised certain rules regarding the appearance of fruits and vegetables in 2008, a movement towards consuming “ugly” fruits and vegetables has been gathering momentum. Several recent campaigns and initiatives across the EU demonstrate approaches to integrating misshapen produce into consumers’ diets. Sainsbury’s supermarket in the UK was an early mover, promoting the irregular crop produced by UK farmers in the difficult growing season of 2012, from a solidarity perspective.
Having become viral on social media, the French supermarket Intermarché’s campaign to sell “fruits et legumes moches ” (inglorious fruits and vegetables) is one of the better-known examples of this growing phenomenon. Intermarché purchased from its growers produce usually discarded due to imperfections and put the food on display with its own label at a 30% discount. To raise awareness about food waste and prove that “ugly” produce is just as delicious as traditional-looking produce, Intermarché offered free fruit juices and soups in-store, as well as developing engaging videos to sensitize consumers.
Two other French supermarkets have since joined the movement with a “Quoi ma gueule ?” (“So what about my look?”) label, also selling “imperfect” produce at a 20 to 30% discount . Leclerc supermarket is commercialising “soup kits” of ugly vegetables, with the right quantities and recipes for soup. There is still scope to expand on this concept via juices and smoothie bars.
In Germany, Culinary Misfits bases its cooking classes, meals, and catering services on using misshapen and forgotten varieties of produce, and envisions opening up small grocery stores where only “ugly” produce is sold. Furthermore, the Ugly Fruits campaign, also in Germany, pairs misshapen fruits and vegetables with suggestive slogans in order to encourage people to eat untraditional-looking produce.
In a different approach, Fruta Feia, which means ’ugly fruit’ in Portuguese, recovers unsold produce from local farmers for half the price that big supermarkets pay for “perfect” items, and then sells it to their registered custumers.
While some supermarkets in the UK have also started to sell blemished or misshapen fruit, the Dorset County Show has gone even further by adding a new “ugly fruit and vegetable” category to their horticulture competition, stating that there are no rules other than visual non-conformity, the more extreme the better .
All these campaigns have led to an increase in “ugly” fruits and vegetables being eaten, and have simultaneously helped increase awareness on the issue of food waste in general. The campaigns demonstrate that approaches to making less aesthetic fruits and vegetables more mainstream can take various forms. Consumers have overwhelmingly embraced these initiatives, suggesting that contrary to the perception that rigorous aesthetic standards in supermarkets are demand-driven, there is a real desire to accept nature’s bounty as it occurs.
Two years into the project, FUSIONS is at its halfway point, and considerable progress has been made in exploring avenues for reducing food waste via quantification, policy, stakeholder engagement, social innovation and awareness-raising.
Several key publications related to food waste quantification have been produced by the FUSIONS team, including two reviews on methodologies for collecting data on food waste, with an extensive inventory of food waste causes, future threats of increase, and opportunities for reduction in the works. Most recently, a long-awaited definitional framework for food waste was proposed, aiming to help streamline food waste quantification and data gathering across the EU.
In parallel, the team has been investigating the role of policy in driving food waste reduction, compiling information on existing EU- and national-level food waste reduction policies across Europe. Further work on, among others, policy scenarios and indicators and criteria for evaluating food waste reduction policy, will allow the team to build towards producing recommendations for common EU policies targeting food waste reduction.
With social innovation at the core of its approach, FUSIONS has launched eight feasibility studies to demonstrate the role that social innovation can play in food waste reduction. The feasibility studies are currently under way, and outcomes to be shared through an evaluation report in 2015.
FUSIONS has attracted significant attention through direct stakeholder involvement as well as diverse dissemination activities. 160+ organisations have already pledged their commitment to reducing food waste as Platform Members, and many have attended project events, including four annual Regional Platform Meetings, as well as the annual European Platform Meeting. FUSIONS held a Social Innovation Camp in April 2014, which discussed ways in which policy can support efforts to reduce food waste through social innovation. FUSIONS is present at many external events, including high-level conferences, forums and workshops involving a range of stakeholders across the value chain. Finally, FUSIONS is of course very active on social media and its own website, enabling interested stakeholders to keep up with project activities and related news.
With a fruitful two years gone by, the project team is excited to continue working towards the project’s objectives over the following two years.
The FUSIONS framework for defining food waste was published on 3 July 2014. The definition aims to support the streamlining of food waste quantification and data gathering across Europe. The framework also defined all resource flows in the food supply chain.
If used consistently, the definition should lead to a clear understanding of where food waste arises and how it is being managed at all stages of the food supply chain and across the EU28. It would also allow for the comparability of data and successful progress measurement for both resource efficiency and food security goals.
FUSIONS defines food waste as any food, and inedible parts of food, removed from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed (including - composted, crops ploughed in/not harvested, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy production, co-generation, incineration, disposal to sewer, landfill or discarded to sea).
The definition covers both food and drink waste, and hence both solid and liquid disposal routes. Where possible, the edible and inedible fraction should be separately analysed or estimated, but including inedible parts of food within the framework is key to ensuring that it is practical to use and that it allows users to track and optimise resource efficiency.
The definition will serve as a basis for further methodological work in FUSIONS, in particular the development of a Food Waste Quantification Manual, providing EU Member States with a consistent methodology for measuring food waste.
All reports can be downloaded here: www.eu-fusions.org/publications
The Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs is preparing a policy paper on food security to be published by the Dutch government by the end of 2014. For this purpose, the Ministries have asked the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) to organize a public online consultation to gather inputs from all those directly or indirectly connected with one or more aspects of Dutch food security policy.
They invite people to participate and provide input for the food security policy paper. They particularly invite representatives from civil society, business and academic communities, and technical experts to contribute.
The consultation is organized around five themes derived from the international food security targets of the Zero Hunger Challenge. They serve as an entry point for an open online conversation. One does not, however, have to comment on all of them: one can make a contribution by selecting the targets that are most relevant to one’s work. Submissions are welcome from 1 July till 31 August 2014. Contributions are limited to a maximum of 500 words per theme. The main language is English, but the F&BKP is open for contributions written in French, Spanish and Portuguese. The F&BKP will prepare and publish a summary report in September 2014.
The five themes are related to the following questions:
How can the Netherlands most effectively contribute to achieving the targets:
* 100% access to adequate food all year round?
* Zero stunted children less than 2 years?
* All food systems are sustainable?
* 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income?
* Zero loss or waste of food?
Another question is: are there elements missing in the Zero Hunger Challenge and this consultation which should be included in the Dutch food security policy?
For more information and to participate in the consultation, please go to their website: http://knowledge4food.net/consultation/
FUSIONS partner Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild Af Mad) has joined forces with the Roskilde Festival (happening this year from 29 June to 6 July in Denmark) in order to minimise food waste at the event.
The partners expect to save up to 30 tonnes of surplus food by donating it to homeless shelters, crisis centres and asylum centres in the region. Three types of food are being collected for donation: non-prepared raw foods that people can cook themselves; cooked dishes that will be donated to shelters and excess food that volunteers will prepare, pack, and freeze in order to distribute it in the coming months.
Stop Wasting Food hopes to establish an organisation that would work with all sorts of festivals and other events to help them reduce their food waste.
FAO’s new project, “Meeting urban food needs,” is aimed at raising awareness as well as supporting policy decisions by local government authorities on how to improve the efficiency, dynamism, inclusiveness and resilience of food systems meeting urban food needs. The project is offering partnership, internship and volunteering opportunities. Please see the FAO’s announcement below:
Research organizations and training institutions worldwide active in the various topics covered by the cross-cutting project “Meeting urban food needs” are invited to partner with FAO.
Issues concerning food waste and losses, throughout the system meeting the food needs of urban areas, will also be given attention. To this effect, the project invites written contributions discussing relevant lessons learnt and good practices on reducing/recycling food waste and losses that would be of specific interest to local government authorities in developing countries and countries in transition (see Best practices template).
We seek your collaborative engagement with a view to share information on on-going and planned research activities and their results and to stimulate new research interests, thus more efficiently using resources to generate and disseminate knowledge among local governments in developing countries and countries in transition. Such partnerships will also be instrumental for gaining access to external resources for joint activities.
If you take pride in having your work influence decision-makers in developing countries and countries in transition; if you want to have your research efforts reach as wide an audience as possible; if your organization considers it important that its students are confronted with real problems and are trained to identify concrete solutions; and if you are in a position to fund your own activities under the partnership with FAO - then let us work together.
There are also limited Opportunities for young graduates to work as interns and volunteers.
Project “Meeting urban food needs”
Room B613 – AGS
FAO - Rome - Italy
A European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) workshop on “Food Waste in the European Food Supply Chain: Challenges and Opportunities” was held in Athens on 12-13 May 2014. The aim of the workshop was to apply, at a pan-European level, the three “Rs” (reduce, reuse and recycle) to the issue of recycling and co-utilization of side streams from the food supply chain, and to evaluate these issues from an EU and business opportunity perspective. The workshop gathered more than 90 delegates, and several organisations from the FUSIONS consortium were represented.
The first day was dedicated to the socioeconomic aspects of food waste and valorisation opportunities for different waste fractions arising in the food supply chain. The second day began with an overview of future challenges from the perspective of the European Commission, followed by a series of presentations from COST actions addressing food waste valorisation and resource efficiency. Presentations from Iglo Foods Group, Nestlé and Provalor provided practical examples from actors acting as front runners within the areas of social responsibility, waste / food waste reduction and valorisation of side streams from food processors. Both days were wrapped up by roundtable discussions, and a strategic document will be written based on the conclusions and insights from the meeting.
More information, including the presentations from the workshop, can be found at http://www.cost.eu/events/foodwaste
On April 7th, the UK House of Lords EU Committee published their report entitled Counting the Cost of Food Waste: EU Food Waste Prevention. The report calls for urgent action on food waste in the UK and in Europe, citing the fact that consumers in industrialised countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million tonnes of food wasted vs. 230 million tonnes produced).
The report acknowledges the complexity of defining and measuring food waste, especially for the earlier parts of the supply chain such as farms. However, it recommends that this complexity not be allowed to delay action on food waste reduction at MS and EU level. The report especially supports the development of EU-wide aspirational targets for each level of the supply chain, which may encourage cooperation between actors along the supply chain, and drive action across Europe.
The Committee calls for action by retailers and government, and urges the EU to refocus away from a ‘waste hierarchy’ toward a ‘food use hierarchy’ that stresses the use by humans of food initially intended for human consumption. If food is no longer suitable for human consumption, it should be transferred to animal consumption if safe to do so.
The issue can be addressed by the European Commission working with Member States, but the report also states that it can be tackled at a local and individual level. The Committee was encouraged by the many examples of action taken to reduce food waste which were presented to them during the giving of evidence. However, the report clearly calls for coordinated action in order to better address this issue.
Research and innovation were highlighted as key elements in food waste prevention, and the report lists FUSIONS as “an excellent example of pan-EU collaboration in this area.” It also commends FUSIONS for bringing key stakeholders from across the supply chain together to cooperate on food waste prevention.
The full text of the report can be viewed here:
The beginning of 2014 was busy for FUSIONS, with three Regional Platform Meetings taking place. Athens, Stockholm, and Düsseldorf welcomed stakeholders and FUSIONS partners to discuss important issues related to food waste, social innovation and potential solutions for food waste prevention.
On 14 March 2014, the second Southern European Regional Platform Meeting took place in Athens, bringing together around ninety participants. The main goal of the meeting was to exchange knowledge and best practices surrounding food waste prevention, and to promote relevant solutions. Stakeholders participated in discussions about relevant trends and dilemmas, and shared ideas of solutions and actions for food waste prevention. Following a series of presentations, three consultation sessions dedicated to Quantification and harmonization of monitoring, Policy and Legislation and Social Innovation Initiatives were held. All participants were invited to participate and present their opinions, recommendations and proposals regarding these three issues.
On 6 May 2014, the second Scandinavian Regional Platform Meeting was held in Stockholm. The meeting participants represented Nordic countries and included several FUSIONS partners. The meeting provided an overview of FUSIONS project activities, and featured several presentations on ongoing activities and best practices in food waste prevention. Ole Jørgen Hanssen from Østfoldforskning introduced the FUSIONS approach to Harmonization of methods for food waste quantification, which will be completed in the coming months. Sophie Easteal from WRAP presented the FUSIONS feasibility studies (launched this spring) and Massimo Canali from University of Bologna spoke about policy drivers of food waste. New FUSIONS social innovation projects taking place in Sweden and Denmark were also introduced. Additionally, there were several interesting presentations regarding waste measurements and reduction activities in Sweden.
The Stockholm meeting was followed by the second Central European Regional Platform Meeting, which took place in Düsseldorf on 9 May 2014, in parallel with the SAVE FOOD conference at Interpack 2014. The meeting covered three main topic areas – Social Innovation, Packaging and Retail – bringing together a variety of speakers to address the role that each area can play in food waste prevention, and to showcase innovative and current examples of initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders. Two FUSIONS feasibility studies (“Advancing social supermarkets” and “Food service surplus solutions”) were also presented. Participants also participated in a project consultation, in which they were asked to provide feedback on the impact of various policy scenarios aimed at driving food waste reduction.
This year’s final regional meeting is coming up in London on 28 May 2014.
The Food and agriculture organization's (FAO) High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition published yesterday, the 14th of May 2014, their report on food waste entitled “Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems.”
The report states that food waste impacts food security, nutrition and the sustainability of food systems, “in their capacity to ensure good quality and adequate food for this generation and future generations.” The FAO calls upon stakeholders at all levels (governments, private sector and civil society) to recognize food security and nutrition as integral parts to a sustainable food system and to work together to address the issue of food waste.
The report also mentions the fact that there is a growing set of initiatives towards coordinated actions to tackle food waste at national, regional and local levels, and that some governments have started to define specific reduction targets for food waste.
The report recommends looking at food waste from a systematic perspective and assessing food systems as a whole. It recommends analysing direct and indirect causes of food waste in order to find hotspots where it would be most efficient to act. It also recommends that data collection and knowledge sharing on food waste be improved, that effective strategies to reduce food waste be developed (at the appropriate levels), that steps be taken to reduce food waste and that coordination of policies and strategies in order to reduce food waste be improved.
For more information on key findings, please see the summary and recommendations from the report: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hlpe/hlpe_documents/HLPE_S_and_R/HLPE_2014_Food_Losses_and_Waste_Summary_EN.pdf
On last Friday 2 May, Massimo Canali presented the FUSIONS project at a Round Table within “Spre-K.O.!”, a three-day event against wastage in the food, health and environmental sectors organized by “CittadinanzAttiva” (Active Citizenship), a volunteer organization of civic engagement operating in Italy and Europe for the protection and empowerment of citizens’ and consumers’ rights.
The Round Table took place in the Albornoz Castle of Spoleto. It was preceded by interventions of the Italian Minister of Health, Ms Beatrice Lorenzin, and of the Vice-Minister of Economy, Mr Pier Paolo Baretta. The Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Mr Andrea Olivero, participated to the round table. The event was also attended by several members of the Regional Government of the Umbria Region and by representatives of organizations managing initiatives for food waste recovery.
Are you up for a challenge?
The city of Sant Cugat del Vallès, just outside Barcelona is looking for ways to address food waste by bringing the city together to simultaneously reduce food poverty, minimise waste and share food.
You can submit your proposal here http://citymart.com/Call/llga2014/Sant_Cugat.
Deadline: 10 April 2014.
On February 6th, FUSIONS coordinator Toine Timmermans attended the 'No opportunity Wasted' food waste awareness event organised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in London. The event featured a wide range of experts who shared their thoughts, experiences and examples of good practice of food waste prevention with more than 100 delegates invited from across the public, private, NGO and academic sectors.
The presentations from the day are now available here:
The first European Meeting was organised in Amsterdam in October 2013. Over 140 people from various stakeholder groups in the Food Supply Chain gathered in Amsterdam’s Park Plaza to discuss on the FUSIONS aims to contribute to achieving a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste through social innovation.
Three elements had a special focus during the 1.5 day event:
1. Transparency: clearance on the definition and quantification of food waste, a common measurement methodology that is harmonised throughout the food supply chain and across (geographical) borders. To measure is to know where to induce successful preventative measures and cooperative strategies.
2. Policy: the regulatory and policy context throughout Europe has considerable influence on the food wastage prevention options. Effective and efficient recommendations for removing legislative barriers and formulating stimulating policies to prevent and reduce food wastages need to be developed on a national and European scale.
3. Innovation: taking action, implementing new ideas on pilot scale and go for the scale up of successful practices throughout Europe. FUSIONS will actively seek out 4 piloting projects in cooperation with its Members to successfully demonstrate innovative ideas to reduce food waste in the food supply chain.
Hosted by prior State Secretary of the Environment Pieter van Geel, the first day focused on key notes on the framing and perspectives of food waste prevention and social innovation from various speakers, including Partner and Member organisations of FUSIONS such as BIOIS, WRI, FoodDrinkEurope, Sustainable Food Alliance, WWF-Germany, followed by key notes on the context and examples from food supply chain stakeholders including WRAP, Lamb Weston / Meijer (EUPPA) / Barilla, Ahold, Tesco and Unilever Food Solutions. The second day continued the key notes, featuring EC DG ENV, Provalor, Dutch Nutriton Center, WWF-UK, EuroCommerce and Stop Spild af Mad. During this second day, the consultation sessions on the event’s topics transparency, policy and innovation were the main focus. Here, the participants divided themselves in three groups, to work on the transparency (organised by SIK, Ostfoldforskning, BIOIS, BOKU, MTT and FAO), policy (organised by University of Bologna and BIOIS) and innovation (organised by WRAP) consultation sessions.
After an eventful first year of FUSIONS, the project team foresees the following key events in 2014. Feeding the 5000 will lead a number of FUSIONS awareness raising events, a Social Innovation Camp will be held in Bologna, and Regional and European Platform Meetings will take place among other activities FUSIONS is preparing for 2014.
The Southern Europe Platform Meeting will take place in Athens on March 14th.
FUSIONS camp on social innovation for food waste prevention and reduction will take place in Bologna, Italy on April 8th 2014. The aim of this day is twofold: to investigate the potential of social innovation for food waste prevention and reduction and the opportunities within the current European Social Innovation Policy and to present the selected Feasibility Studies.
The next FUSIONS-Feeding the 5000 awareness raising event will take place in Brussels.
The remaining Regional Platform Meetings will be organized during the course of the month:
- Stockholm, Sweden (Scandinavia, 6th of May)
- Düsseldorf, Germany (Central Europe, 8th of May)
- London, UK (North-West, 28th of May)
Finally,the second European Platform Meeting will be organized in autumn 2014. Dates and locations for these events will be published on FUSIONS website.
Project members will also continue to present project work at numerous conferences related to food waste around Europe.You can follow them on FUSIONS social media channels.
FUSIONS partners have significantly advanced their work packages in 2013, key deliverables including reviews of food waste quantification methodologies, of policy drivers, a proposal on the definition of food waste, and the organization of four Regional Platform Meetings and of first European Meeting. FUSIONS now counts more than 140 Members.
One of the tasks FUSIONS focused on in Year 1 was the development of a common knowledge base via extensive literature reviews and inventories of food waste causes. Also, a technical framework for definition of food waste was developed with its final version to be presented and uploaded on the website early 2014. Moreover, a literature review on legislation and policy driving food waste generation and reduction at European and national level as well as a database of related European legislation and policy documents were developed.
In view of establishing a policy evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of food waste reduction measures, a set of specific indicators and criteria will be identified throughout 2014. FUSIONS Partners have also reviewed over 150 food waste prevention & food waste management activities and identified those which best represent social innovation. Already in 2014 feasibility studies demonstrating how social innovation can prevent food waste have been selected, and these studies will be launching shortly- watch this space for further information!
More than 140 Stakeholder organisations pledged commitment to the FUSIONS multi-stakeholder platform as Members, ranging from foodbank networks to research institutes and governmental organisations to retailers, food service providers, consumer organizations, farmers and industry representatives from the entire supply chain. Four Regional Platform Meetings were organised in Germany (Hohenheim), Finland (Helsinki), Italy (Padua) and France (Paris), bringing Members together for project presentations, best practices and consultations on the working topics of FUSIONS. The first European Meeting was organised in Amsterdam in October 2013. Over 140 people from various stakeholder groups in the Food Supply Chain gathered in Amsterdam’s Park Plaza to discuss on the FUSIONS aims to contribute to achieving a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste through social innovation. All presentations and the summary of the event will be available shortly via FUSIONS Website. Members will have access to the minutes of the consultation sessions as well via the Members Only Portal.
During the course of 2013, partners presented FUSIONS at more than 70 conferences, high-level forums and workshops, in a wide range of Member States across Europe and involving a wide range of stakeholders across the value chain. FUSIONS also held two major awareness raising events in Amsterdam and Copenhagen each reaching an audience of 6000+ citizens. FUSIONS Partners have been rewarded for their commitment in the fight against food waste. Only in 2013, Selina Juul and her Stop Wasting Food Movement have won eight awards in Denmark and abroad. FUSIONS Project Coordinator WUR represented by Toine Timmermans was also awarded important prizes in 2013 .Tristram Stuart and Feeding the 5000 have recently received the Waste Reduction challenge prize, for its social innovative method to the reduce farm food wastage.
Early in the year, a FUSIONS website was launched and has since developed to provide the most up-to-date and relevant information on the project. Further, a “Members Only” section has been created, with information on project progress, activities and deliverables, as well as a discussion forum exclusively for project Members. In parallel to the website, FUSIONS social media pages were created on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and have enabled the project team to engage with stakeholders and followers. To further improve FUSIONS’ visibility, the FUSIONS newsletter was launched in February of 2013.
2013 was a year great achievements in the fight against food wastage. Not only were several landmarks studies on food waste published but also food wastage prevention actions and awareness raising events bloomed. FUSIONS has made a selection of food wastage studies and events that marked the last year.
• FAO: Food wastage footprint, impacts on natural resources
This new FAO study, prepared by FUSIONS partner BIO Intelligence Service, develops a methodology for calculating the environmental impacts of global food waste, building a more consistent knowledge base on these impacts, and designs options to reduce food waste in specific food systems. It assesses the environmental footprint of food wastage through four different indicators: its carbon, water, land occupation/degradation and potential biodiversity impacts.
• WRAP: Household food and drink waste in the UK 2012
This report provides estimates of the amount of food and drink waste generated by UK households in 2012. It includes details of the types of food and drink wasted, why it is thrown away, and where the material goes. It is provides a comprehensive update on WRAP’s 2007 estimates of household food and drink waste.
• World Resources Institute & UNEP: Food Loss and Waste Protocol
Launched in October 2013, the Food Loss and Waste Protocol will provide much needed guidance on definitions, appropriate data sources and quantification methods, and how to evaluate trade offs in food waste measurement between accuracy, completeness, relevance, and cost.
2013 has also witnessed a rise in food waste prevention actions led by different stakeholders across the food chain. Firstly, NGOs were very active throughout the year around Europe, with some particularly present in the media.
• Awareness raising initiatives and campaigns
The Feeding the 5000 campaign led by FUSIONS partner Tristram Stuart, counted more than 30 gleaning and awareness raising events over the past year in the UK only. Tonnes of vegetables and fruits were collected and redistributed via FareShare to smaller homeless hostels and charities. Feeding the 5000 Nantes was one of the biggest events, with 7500 people attending.
Disco Soupe, a French non-profit movement launched in Paris in March 2012, also had a remarkable year. Having as its mission to raise awareness on food waste, Disco Soupe events combat food waste in a convivial setting where participants, accompanied by music, chop vegetables and fruits which otherwise would have been wasted. In 2013, Disco Soupe organised more than 100 events around France, Europe (Brussels, Barcelona) and not only (Brazil, Singapore).
2013 was also a fantastic year for the Danish Stop Wasting Food Movement (Stop Spild af Mad), founded by FUSIONS Partner Selina Juul. The movement fed the homeless with surplus food worth 67020 euros and organized Denmark’s biggest event against food waste “United Against Food Waste”, with 6000 participants attending.
In early 2013, EU FUSIONS partners welcomed the lunch of UNEP’s and FAO’s joint global campaign against food wastage, ‘Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint’. This was the first major international initiative dedicated entirely to the issue of food waste highlighting increasing global awareness of FUSIONS’ objective, alongside increasingly numerous and complementary national or local food waste reduction and prevention initiatives.
National policy-makers also put food wastage on the top of their 2013 agenda. On June 14th 2013, France made a National Pact against Food Waste with the aim of reducing food waste - by half - by 2025. On the occasion of the World Food Day, France celebrated its first National Day Against Food Waste with awareness-raising events held all over the country.
2013 was also a year of premieres for businesses with regards to food wastage. Supermarket giant Tesco published its food waste data for the first time. This was definitely a step forward in the fight against food wastage and hopefully an example for the rest of the industry to publicly report on and, more importantly, take responsibility for food wasted across their supply chains.
On December 11th, FUSIONS attended in Brussels Velva's conference, 'Food waste? No thanks! EU policy perspective and strategies of member states', that aimed to contribute to the design of an effective and coordinated food waste policy in collaboration with all stakeholders in the chain.
The documents of this conference (presentations, list of participants, report and key messages) are available now on Velva's website:
On December 4th, FUSIONS participated in the workshop hosted by the European Parliament and co-organised by the STOA Panel Members and MEPs, which focused on the role of Europe in feeding the world in 2050.
The summary and the videos of the discussions are now available on the STOA website:
FUSIONS coordinator,Toine Timmermans,will speak at two EU-level workshops in Brussels.
The first workshop entitled "Tasting the Difference: the Consumer Co-operative Way to Sustainable Food" is organised by FUSIONS Member Euro Coop and will be held on Tuesday 26th November.
This half-day event aims to gather views from representatives of the EU institutions, NGOs, academia, consumer co-operatives and other stakeholders of the food chain about how to move forward in the area of sustainable food systems.
The programme of the event is available here http://tastethedifference.splashthat.com/.
Hosted by the European Parliament and co-organised by the STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) Panel Members and MEPs, the second workshop will focus on the role of Europe in feeding the world in 2050. It will bring the findings and the synthesis report of the five parallel studies related to "Technology options for feeding 10 billion people", as well as presentations by high level scientists in the different topics related to agriculture and food.
The workshop is co-chaired by MEPs Kent Johansson, Giovanni La Via and Vittorio Prodi.
More information here http://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/cms/home/events/workshops/feeding.
On September 3rd, the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) announced the composition of the Project Team in charge of the report on Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems. The scope of the study is to assess the impact of the reduction in food wastage on food and nutrition security in the context of sustainable food systems.
The HLPE was established in 2010 as the science-policy interface of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in order to contribute to a better understanding of the diversity of issues and rationales when dealing with food and nutrition insecurity.
In October 2012, the CFS requested its HLPE to undertake a study on Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems. The report will assess the contributions of a reduction in food wastage on food and nutrition security. To address this issue the study will analyze different aspects: existing definitions of food wastage, other uses of food, extent of food wastage and expected trends, causes of wastage and their connections with poverty and social inequalities, present state of public policies etc. The final aim of the report is to draft recommendations for a better use of food resources.
Following the open electronic consultations on the scope of the study and the open call for candidatures, the Steering Committee of the HLPE has selected the Project Team for this work on September 3rd in Rome.
Dr. Vishweshwaraiah Prakash scientist CSIR-INDIA in the key areas of food science, food technology, food safety, food and nutrition security, will be the project’s team leader. FUSIONS partner, Toine Timmermans (Wageningen UR), program manager Sustainable Food Chains at Food & Biobased Research, part of Wageningen UR will also be part of the project team along with Jane Ambuko, lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, Walter Belik, Professor of Economics at UNICAMP - University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil and Jikun Huang, the Founder and Director of Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor at Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research.
The project team met for the first time this week in Spain to launch activities. A first version of the report will be elaborated and submitted in November 2013 for further expert input and feedback through open electronic consultations. Based on the results of these consultations, the HLPE will then elaborate the report, submit the draft to scientific external peer review, prior to its finalization and presentation at the CFS Plenary in 2014.
The first FUSIONS European Platform Meeting took place on 17-18 October 2013 in Amsterdam at the Park Plaza hotel. During this two-day meeting, over 100 key European and national stakeholders from across the Food Supply Chain gathered to discuss about food waste and build consensus on issues central to the FUSIONS project.
The European Platform Meeting is an integral component of FUSIONS’ development of a Multi-stakeholder Platform, which aims to facilitate discussion between key stakeholders in the food chain in order to share knowledge and develop recommendations for food waste reduction.
The first Platform Meeting at the European level was coordinated by partner Wageningen UR & Biobased Research. During the first day, key note speakers from across the food supply chain, including the World Resources Institute and FoodDrinkEurope, presented current knowledge on food wastage from a global and European Food Industry perspective, as well as areas of future research. These presentations were followed by concrete examples of recent developments on food waste prevention from different EU stakeholders such as retailers Tesco, Ahold, Barilla and WRAP.
The second day of the Platform meeting was dedicated to stakeholder consultations animated by FUSIONS Partners. A plenary consultation session was followed by two rounds of working groupswhere Members were able to discuss the state of art and future requirements within topics such as transparency, policy, and social innovative practices to reduce food waste.
The European Platform Meeting was preceded by the Governing Council Meeting of all project partners and an Expert Advisory Board meeting where feedback on the first year’s achievements was sought. The findings of the European Platform Meeting will feed into project deliverables, as outcomes and recommendations of a consensus building process.
Do not miss analysis of the key findings of the European Platform Meeting in the upcoming December Newsletter!
Great news from our Partners Wageningen UR and Selina Juul!
On October 24th, Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research won the Food Valley Award for its latest invention: the Pasteur Sensor Tag. The wireless sensor tag tracks the geographical origin of a perishable and the history of the conditions under which it has been handled, stored and transported.
The Food Valley Award panel calls the Pasteur sensor tag an innovative answer to “crucial cold chain issues such as food waste, efficiency and traceability” and predicts that it will “have great impact on every link in the cold chain.”
According to Toine Timmermans, sustainable supply chain program manager at Food & Biobased Research, the Pasteur sensor tag will be the breakthrough technology for applications like the smart refrigerator and smart online planning and ordering.
Watch the presentation of the award winner here http://goo.gl/NdUC5C.
On October 30th, Selina Juul won the Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2014 for her work with Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark.
“Selina's persistent focus on food waste - in collaboration with other interested parties - has led to a reduction of food waste in Denmark. With her creativity, enthusiasm and hard work, she has contributed to reducing human beings' ecological footprint in nature”, says the Adjudication Committee in its motivation.
The money from Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2014 - 47,000 Euro - will be used to fund an international organization against food waste and to start a project to provide good surplus food to homeless people.
See press release, pictures, etc. from the Nordic Council here:
The European FUSIONS multistakeholder Platform meeting (EPM) will take place on 17 & 18 October 2013 in Amsterdam. The meeting will include key notes and practice examples from a variety of stakeholders, including the World Resources Institute, FoodDrinkEurope, Barilla and Tesco. Dedicated stakeholder consultation sessions will also be held on transparency, policy and innovation issues in food waste prevention, as well as best practices.
The full meeting programme can be found here.
To register, please visit www.wageningenur.nl/fusions
The FAO published on September 11th 2013 the first quantification of the impact that food waste has on natural resources. The study, prepared by FUSIONS partner BIO Intelligence Service, assesses the environmental footprint of food wastage through four different components: its carbon footprint, water footprint, land occupation/degradation impact and potential biodiversity impact.
The FWF report has estimated the global carbon footprint of food wastage at 3.3 billion tones of CO2 equivalent. This makes it the third highest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, after the USA and China. Moreover, the study reveals that around 250km3 of water and 1.4 billion hectares of land used annually to produce food are lost or wasted.
The report is accompanied by a comprehensive Toolkit that contains recommendations on how food loss and waste can be reduced at every stage of the food chain. The Toolkit showcases concrete examples of best practices for food loss and waste reduction, while pointing to information sources, guidelines and pledges favoring food wastage reduction.
The report and the toolkit are available on FAO’s website.
FWF report http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3347e/i3347e.pdf
The regional meeting for FUSIONS partners, members and stakeholders was held at the offices of BIO Intelligence Service on Friday 7 June 2013.
The meeting featured several keynote presentations that shared current campaigns and data collected by different organisations. Sophie Easteal, representing the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), introduced their new Fresher for Longer campaign that addresses the issue of food packaging and its impact on food preservation. Fanny Demassieux from UNEP and Camelia Bucatariu from FAO’s SAVE FOOD initiative presented the awreness-raising Think.Eat.Save - ‘Reduce your Foodprint’ campaign and introduced a new toolkit that provides a modular, step-wise approach for both national and local governments, businesses and organisations.
The FUSIONS meeting also welcomed Thibaut Nancy from the French Ministry of Agriculture, who spoke about the new French Pact against Food Waste, as well as the French government’s other efforts to spread the word on preventing and reducing food waste. The French government has aimed to mobilise French society around the issue, has supported pilot projects on food waste and has conducted an international benchmark to learn from best practices abroad. The national alimentation.gouv.fr website now includes “anti gaspi” (anti gaspillage / against waste) marketing materials, as well as information and advice on reducing the amount of food thrown away and explanations of best-by dates.
The keynote presentations were complemented by presentations on the progress of the FUSIONS project, as well as group sessions to solicit stakeholder feedback on key issues. Group discussions focused notably on defining food waste and took on several relevant issues, such as the distinction between edible and inedible food and the need to take into consideration different traditions in handling food around the world. The diverse ideas and strong participation from all participants throughout the day’s presentations and group discussion sessions will help inform the FUSIONS project going forward.
The meeting owed its success to everyone’s contribution and exchange of their expertise, insight and valuable information.
This year’s World Environment Day was hosted by the government and people of Mongolia, and supports the Think.Eat.Save. – Reduce Your Foodprint campaign, put together by UNEP and the FAO. The country was not chosen as an example of high levels of food waste -- on the contrary, it was selected because of its food preserving traditions and growing sustainable practices.
With an eye towards better environmental performance across the board, the Mongolian government is prioritising a Green Economy across its major economic sectors and educating its youth on environmental awareness. Their 5 day programme leading up to World Environment Day started on 1st June with an International Children’s Day that provided various environment-themed activities as well as tours of the Ecology Education Centre and Fresh Water and Conservation Centre. The Ulaanbaatar Marathon took place with runners and cyclists in support of clean air in the city, followed by the Green Development National Forum on 3 June. The day before WED, the launch of the First Wind Farm took place on Salhit Mountain, representing Mongolia’s commitment to a low carbon future, and various conferences were held afterwards concerning food security, responsible mining and renewable energy. June 5 held the official ceremony with celebrations and the official release of the joint UNEP-WRI (World Resources Institute) working paper ‘Reducing Food Loss and Waste’. For more details on the activities and key discussions that have taken place in Mongolia, visit its official WED page.
A public hearing concerning food waste took place on 25 April 2013, co-organised by Nuno Melo, a Member of European Parliament, and Isabel Jonet, the President of the European Federation of Food Banks. The hearing, “Food Surpluses to Feed Deprived People” called to address the paradox in Europe between the massive amount of food waste (89 million tonnes excluding agricultural and fishing waste) and the overwhelming percentage of people living below the poverty line (79 million), who are unable to afford or access nutritious food. The European Federation of Food Banks states that the EU needs to assume the essential role they play in creating and implementing food recovery services, raising public awareness, and developing policies for the food retail chain to incorporate reduced waste practices. Their goal is to ensure that food recovery becomes more beneficial than costly, or ‘inconvenient’, in order to encourage the adoption of these practices for all businesses within the food supply chain. FEBA will continue to pursue these efforts as they have been since 1986, alongside the 32,000 charitable organisations and social services working with them. Learn more about their organisation and works on their site here!
If you have not seen the Taste the Waste documentary yet, it is a comprehensive look into food wasted throughout the supply chain. It examines food loss on the farm, in transportation and via retail outlets, such as supermarkets, that is preventable. The consumer also plays a large role due to aesthetic demands that become engrained into shopping habits to which supermarkets cater.
The sequel, Food Savers, continues this quest of searching for the how and why food waste is arising, and interacts with the actors who have taken the challenge to fight food waste. From farmers to supermarket suppliers to the consumer at home or in restaurants, the film reveals the efforts of people who are trying to bring back the appreciation of food by taking action to minimise throwing away excess food. The film asks how we have come to waste so much food and why is it so hard to change the existing system that allows for such waste to be produced. Food Savers analyses the business management perspective on how financial costs favour throwing food away despite the influence it has on the environment and world hunger.
The film mentions how politics and society have the biggest potential in helping to cutting food waste. Food Savers also aims to bring about insight into the economic pressure that needs to be directed towards waste prevention. Although political actors, economic actors and retailers have a direct relationship with food and its distribution, it is not limited to their efforts. At the end of the day, everyone has an influence on the way food is consumed and wasted. Food Savers will air on ARD (first channel of German public TV) at 10:45-11:30 p.m on the 13 May 2013.
FUSIONS regional meetings will be held in Germany, Italy, Finland and France in the upcoming months. At these meetings, the definition of food waste, policies impacting food waste prevention, and social innovation initiatives for reducing food waste will be discussed. Key note speakers will provide inspiration and insight on food waste prevention initiatives and best practices.
The first meeting will be held on 16 May 2013 in Germany, at the Grüner Saal (Green Hall) in the Castle of the University of Hohenheim. The agenda will include author and director of “Taste the Waste” Valentin Thurn and Bernd Hallier, of the European Retail Academy. Discussion will be held on policies for reducing food waste, how to define food waste, and social innovation initiatives for food waste prevention. Keynote presentations will also be made by Gerd Häuser of the Federal Association Deutsche Tafel and Christine Göbel from the University of Applied Sciences Münster.
The second regional platform meeting will be held on 20 May 2013 in Padua, Italy at the Pedrocchi Café and is organised by Last Minute Market. In the morning, the meeting will involve a number of consultation sessions including on food waste quantification and policies and legislation for food waste prevention. Information on the FUSIONS European Platform will be presented by Toine Timmermans, the FUSIONS coordinator and WRAP will discuss social innovation and the feasibility studies to be undertaken in the context of the FUSIONS project. In the afternoon a number of case studies and success stories will be presented.
The next regional platform will be held on 23 May 2013 at Satakuntatalo in Helsinki, Finland, and is organised by MTT Agrifood Research Finland. Research on the environmental impacts of food and food waste will be presented by Juha-Matti Katajajuuri from MTT Agrifood Research (FI), followed by Simon Eisner from ALLWIN (SE) who will speak on optimising food use through social innovation. Karin Östergren, FUSIONS WP1 leader of SIK (SE), will animate a consultation on the definition of food waste and its quantification. The afternoon will be dedicated to consultations on various aspects of the FUSIONS project, as well as an overview of the FUSIONS platform and membership opportunities.
The final of the four regional meetings will take place on 7 June 2013 at BIO Intelligence Service in Paris, France. After a welcome made by the Regional Coordinator, the French Ministry of Agriculture will present a keynote address on the launch of the National Pact against Food Waste. Over the course of the day, WRAP (UK), a FUSIONS partner, will animate a consultation on food waste prevention via social innovation and present their ‘Fresher for Longer’ campaign. FUSIONS partners will also animate sessions on policy barriers in food waste prevention and food waste definitions.
FUSIONS has been making progress on defining food waste and proposing system boundaries for the food chain. A key challenge in such work is establishing the start and end point of the food chain. The FUSIONS team will be consulting with stakeholders in the upcoming months on a proposed definition.
Within the FUSIONS project, Work Package 1 (WP1) is focused on enabling an assessment of food waste quantities and identifying drivers in food waste generation to serve as a base for addressing food waste prevention and reduction. WP1 involves identifying reliable data and information sources as well as criteria for food waste monitoring. A first key task has been developing a definition for food waste and proposing system boundaries for the food chain and when food becomes waste.
Work on definitions and systems boundaries has been advancing in the recent months. A key challenge in such work is establishing the basis for defining food waste, for example, the environmental, nutritional or economic aspects of food waste. Other challenges are defining a start and end point of the food supply chain. Another aspect of defining food waste concerns whether only the edible fraction or both the edible and inedible fractions should be considered. A final consideration is how resources and raw materials which have the potential to be eaten by humans, but which are not, should be addressed. This could include potentially edible resources throughout the food chain or raw materials not yet ready to be eaten, such as crops growing in the field.
The approach FUSIONS has taken is to first attempt to define “food,” then define the “food supply chain.” Following on from this, it is possible to define and clarify “food wastage” in the context of the definitions of “food” and “food supply chain.” The term “wastage” has been favoured to encompass food losses and waste, and to avoid conflict with the legal EU definition of waste.
The FUSIONS team will be consulting with stakeholders in the upcoming months via the regional platform meetings and the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform meeting in October 2013 on a draft definition of “food wastage.” A final published definition is expected in late fall 2013.
The first European Meeting of the FUSIONS Platform will be held on 17–18th of October 2013, in Amsterdam (Netherlands) at Park Plaza Hotel.
To pre-register for the meeting send an e-mail to FUSIONS@wur.nl
Multiple TED talks have addressed the issue of food waste. TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ which regularly holds conferences and events worldwide, bringing together people from the areas of technology, entertainment and design. These TED talks highlight the realities of the food waste problem and provide hope for the spread of existing solutions and the development of new initiatives.
Tristam Stuart, a FUSIONS project partner, shares his experience that has led him to become an influential actor in the fight against food waste. Raising pigs as a teenager in Sussex, England, he realised the injustice of the food waste problem. By using food that his school or local farmers rejected to feed his pigs, he understood that such food was still acceptable for human consumption. Such experiences later motivated him to write a book on the colossal scale at which food waste is produced and the lack of measurement and recording of its sources. His research led him to discover that European and North American countries produce over twice as much food as is necessary to feed their populations. Stuart continues to work on the food production system and pinpoint areas where food is being lost. On farms, at supermarkets and at the home, food is wasted unnecessarily mainly due to aesthetic reasons, resulting in farmers who cannot harvest and sell their crops, which therefore end in landfill. Stuart believes that the use of domesticated pigs to consume food waste has high potential. This practice reduces the carbon production compared to feeding pigs imported soya and grains, all the while getting more food in the end with a well fed pig that can also be consumed. Tristam Stuart has founded Feeding the 5000, which regularly organises food waste awareness events serving food which otherwise would have been sent to landfill, has written a book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, and has helped to start The Gleaning Network in the UK.
Peter Lehner is the Executive Director of NRDC and the NRDC Action Fund and presents an inspiring talk about what can be done to address the food waste dilemma. He highlights the large percentage of food that is sent to landfills, without the option of alternative uses such as being fed to the needy, animals or used for composting. He also recognises innovative solutions that have been created to address environmental issues and how this innovation and design can be applied to help resolve food waste. An example he mentions is the refrigerator, which has the potential to store food longer, notify the owner when food will go bad and even suggest recipes to use food that will spoil soon. Another initiative he believes could be multiplied is Rubies in the Rubble, which takes rejected fruits and vegetables to make them into chutney, jams and juices. Lehner also mentions other creative and original solutions that have the potential to reduce food waste while helping families in need and providing business for others. Lehner praises the efforts made by the UK’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign in providing consumers with useful everyday tips to save food such as making a grocery list, freezing leftovers and becoming more aware of expiration dates. Lehner believes that the two most important things to do to reduce food waste are to start a dialogue on the issue and begin to measure food waste so that it can be managed correctly.
Selina Juul, a FUSIONS project partner, is the leader of the Danish Stop Wasting Food movement. Her talk highlights the possibility that the future can be changed if consumers are willing to modify their food wasting habits in order to avoid world hunger and food insecurity. Juul declares that throwing away 25% of food purchased by consumers is unacceptable. She cites that the food waste from Italy alone could feed the entire population of Ethiopia, while the global food waste total could feed every hungry man, woman and child three times over, year after year. These powerful statements explain what drove her to start her movement and how it has engaged a large number of consumers. Her efforts have been recognised by the Danish government as well as the European Commission. Juul reminds consumers that their influence through their food waste can affect the global issue of hunger and pollution, which will ultimately change the future.
The FAO, a partner of the FUSIONS project, recently launched an e-Consultation on food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems.
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012) requested the High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to undertake a study on ‘Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems’ to be presented to the Plenary in 2014. This study must result in a report which is policy oriented, practical and operational.
In this context, the HLPE recently launched an e-Consultation on Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems. The e-Consultation runs until 30 April 2013 and focuses on the scope of the study, and the pertinence of main questions. References of global and national studies and data on the subject, especially on food waste, are also welcome.
To participate, please visit the dedicated HLPE e-consultation website or send directly your contribution to the HLPE Secretariat at email@example.com and FSNfirstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions are welcome in English, French and Spanish.
A public call for candidatures to the Project Team for the project is also currently open until 30th April 2013. More information can be found here. The HLPE Steering Committee will appoint the Project Team after review of candidatures.
Preventing food waste begins with fully comprehending the scope of the issue and from where it originates. This is a highly complex dilemma that requires taking into account the various stages in which preventable food waste arises and the influence the economy has on food waste generation.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has released two thorough reports that cover in detail the variables that contribute to the concerning amount of money, resources and food that are ending up in the landfill. The first report, “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill”, identifies the cause of food loss at every level of the food supply chain. The report covers losses in farming, post-harvest & packaging, processing, distribution, retail, food service, households and disposal phases. It concludes with propositions of solutions that businesses, governments, and consumers can apply in their daily actions to reduce their impact.
The second report, ”Left-Out: An investigation of the Causes & Quantities of Crop Shrink”, concentrates more on fruits and vegetables and the fiscal problems that hinder farmers in their production. These hindering factors include overplanting, low market prices, labor shortages and product grading. The report then presents a comprehensive summary of the methodology and scope behind Crop Shrink to help readers understand the existing system as well as alternative solutions to address them.
There are feasible solutions proposed by these reports that shed light on a future with less food waste, and the responsibility every actor has in contributing to such a future.
To read the original article click here!
The Pre-waste project examined over one hundred waste prevention programmes and projects and profiled those considered to be best practices. Selection strongly considered the level of transferability of each initiative. In the food waste prevention category there are several which have made a difference and serve as an example for others to follow. Prevention is not only crucial at the production and retail level, but also involves all consumers in their daily eating habits. Here are some of the programmes that have stood out as a result of their efforts.
One of the most noteworthy projects, Love Food Hate Waste, is a non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom that is brought to life by WRAP, a FUSIONS project partner. Love Food Hate Waste website serves as an information hub, providing food waste facts, advice and ideas on reducing waste, as well as food storage and portion management guides. The Love Food Hate Waste programme, geared towards the average consumer, seeks to address the food waste challenge via awareness raising and behaviour change.
In Sweden, the Halmstad region implemented a creative idea to promote food waste reduction through the school system. The initiative involved a competition between elementary, middle and high schools to see who could reduce their food waste the most. As a result, the schools averaged a 13% reduction in food waste and avoided nearly 7 tonnes of CO2 per year. The campaign also led to a decision at the municipal level to weigh food waste in all schools twice per year.
An initiative by the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus (Onlus Food Bank Foundation), in Italy, was also profiled. The organisation helps to redirect food that no longer can be sold commercially and redistribute it to over 8,000 charitable organisations throughout Italy. The work is made possible by more than 1,000 volunteers who helped recover over 68,000 tonnes of food in 2011. The Onlus Food Bank Foundation continues to contribute to reducing food waste and increasing social equality via their redistribution activities.
If you wish to learn more about the other food waste programmes as well as other waste related prevention programmes that Prewaste.eu has profiled, visit the article here.
This step forward in preventing and reducing food waste was made possible due to the dedicated work of Brandi Clark Burton, chief inspiration officer of Austin EcoNetwork and EcoCampaigns. Burton founded the Food Surplus and Salvage Working Group that started researching for this project in September 2011. Their work encouraged the city to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, which implements several options that defer food waste to redistribution, composting or energy use before being sent to the landfill. Burton hopes that by the end of the year 2013 everyone in the city will be aware of food waste and have started to apply prevention actions in their personal life and businesses. Council members who co-sponsored the resolution were excited about the opportunity to set an example as a community and improve their use of such a precious resource. The University of Texas at Austin comments on the challenges in reducing food waste at the University due to the large quantity of food that is handled on campus. Specific problem areas include over-preparation and over-ordering by the kitchen staff, as well as the all-you-can-eat locations that result in diners taking more than they can consume. Despite the difficulties ahead, the city council of Austin is determined to implement the necessary changes and committed to reducing their food waste.
In Europe, 2014 has been declared the ‘Year against food waste.’
At the “Waste Not, Want Not – reducing food waste in Europe” Seminar held on March 5th 2013 in Brussels, Jan Broeze (Wageningen UR – Food & Biobased Research) was on the panel of “Putting waste to good use?”, together with representatives from EU Ecolabel (DG ENV), McCain, Attero, and FUSIONS partner FAO.
Preventing food waste is a key issue in meeting the resource efficiency objectives of the European Union and the food demand of a forecasted global population of 9 billion people. He pointed out the need to valorise secondary resources from the food value chain at the highest level possible: generating new food ingredients that could create new food products. This includes preventative actions to avoid food waste as well. Whilst there are already important initiatives both at national and at the EU level, it is important to join forces and cooperate within and between supply chains.
Creating awareness that food waste is a threat to resource efficiency is vital, as is the development of cross-sector solutions with stakeholders from inside and outside the food chain. These need to be supported with more insights in quantities and qualities of (secondary) resources and processes to create new solutions in cooperation with further processing and logistics. These solutions will require innovation, not only in technology, but in markets and supply chain management as well. The FUSIONS project aims to connect stakeholders in order to engage and encourage the steps forwards towards an optimal food use in Europe. In the photo, Dr. Jan Broeze (Wageningen UR) can be seen presenting at the panel.
Toine Timmermans will present on the FUSIONS project during a session on food waste at the FEBA General Assembly meeting. Sessions focus on understanding the food waste scene in Europe, the EU FOOD AID programme and other programmes, securing financing for food banks' operating and development costs, as well as best practices in the FEBA network. Camelia Bucatariu, of FAO, a FUSIONS partner, will present on the FAO Save Food intiative, and Mike Robey from WRAP, another FUSIONS partner, will present on food waste prevention initiatives in the UK. FEBA is the Fédération Européenne des Banques Alimentaires/European Federation of Food Banks. This year’s annual meeting will be held in Brussels at the Alliance Hotel, from April 26th to 28th, 2013.
The first regional FUSIONS Platform meetings are coming up! Save the date in your agenda:
- 16th of May: Central Europe, organised by University of Hohenheim at HOHENHEIM (Germany)
Interested to go to this meeting? Send an e-mail to: Christina.Zuebert@uni-hohenheim.de
- 20th of May: Southern Europe, organised by Last Minute Market (Italy) at PADUA (Italy)
Interested to go to this meeting? Send an e-mail to: email@example.com
- 23rd of May: Scandinavia, organised by MTT (Finland) at HELSINKI (Finland)
Interested to go to this meeting? Send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 7th of June: North West Europe, organised by BIO Intelligence Service at PARIS (France)
Interested to go to this meeting? Send an e-mail to: email@example.com
On the agenda are high-profile key note speakers on the topics of social innovation, food use and food waste prevention and many opportunities to discuss the main FUSIONS topics of Quantification and Monitoring, Food Waste Policy, Pilot & Best Practices and Sharing of Knowledge. This is your opportunity to share your interests, ideas and knowledge, and feed in the upcoming EU policy and regulation within the optimisation of food use in Europe.
The first European Meeting of the FUSIONS Platform will be on 17 – 18th of October, in Amsterdam (Netherlands) at Park Plaza Hotel.
To pre-register for the meeting send an e-mail to FUSIONS@wur.nl
The FUSIONS project aims to contribute to achieving a resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste trough social innovation. An important aspect within FUSIONS is the establishment of the European FUSIONS Multi-stakeholder Platform. The ambition within this Platform is to generate a shared vision and strategy to prevent food loss and reduce food waste across the food supply chain.
FUSIONS invites interested stakeholder organisations from the food supply chain, from primary sector to consumer and waste organisations, from individual companies to trade associations and societal NGOs to become Member of the FUSIONS Multi-stakeholder Platform. Join in this opportunity to contribute to new EU food waste prevention policy, as well as monitor and implement social innovations to optimise food use in practice.
What we expect from our Members:
1. Participating actively in the conferences, online platforms and working group meetings to improve cooperation to reduce food waste in the food supply chain.
FUSIONS will organise 3 European meetings and 4 annual regional meetings (in the regions North-West Europe, Scandinavia, Central Europe, Southern Europe) over the course of 4 years. All members are invited to participate in these meetings free of charge. The Meetings will be conveniently located near easily accessible venues.
2. Contribute to knowledge and experience sharing within the Platform
As a Member you will be regularly informed about results from the Project and in any stage we welcome your comments to improve prevention and reduction measures and the consensus building process.
3. Giving the project visibility in your networks and contribute actively in dissemination activities
Your Membership will be promoted via the Project’s dissemination activities, and we invite you to use the FUSIONS information and your participation in the Platform as a communication tool for your own organisation.
4. Identifying pilot demonstration projects for market leading innovations
Walking the talk: FUSIONS aims to generate and support new approaches, initiatives and pilot projects to prevent and reduce food waste into practice.
Membership is free of charge. It does include the signature of a Letter of Intent, including the expectations listed above. Your organisation is free to opt out at any given point in time.
Contact us at FUSIONS@wur.nl
Perfectly edible and nutritious food being wasted before it even reaches the consumer is problematic, especially in light of the large number of populations around the world facing malnutrition or starvation. Why is this happening and what is there to do about it? The causes of postharvest loss vary depending on the region, climate and crops in question. However, the largest challenges faced by the developing world are related to storage and transport of food products.
The predictions made by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that the earth’s population will rise to 9 billion people in step with an increasing demand for food, highlights the importance of assessing food production efficiency. Currently a third of the food produced is wasted, including water to grow crops, oil to transport and process food items and added CO2 emissions released by organic waste. The solution does not reside in increased food production, but rather in using and distributing all food produced to avoid depletion of precious resources and land.
One of many initiatives to address this issue is Feed the Future, which is led by the U.S. Government as part of President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative. Postharvest loss was recently addressed at the “Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss” conference that was held on February 19, 2013. The event was hosted by the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs along with the Office of Global Food Security and the Foreign Service Institute. The conference included 150 participants, comprised of NGOs, government officials, academic institutions, private sector representatives and foreign diplomatic corps. The solutions discussed concerning postharvest loss focused on “perishable and non-perishable goods, cold chain storage, financing, research and implementation.”
FUSIONS partner Selina Juul has received an award in Denmark, the Cross of Merit Pro Utilitate Hominum of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, for her work with the Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad).
This distinction is awarded to people or associations having provided notable humanitarian efforts. “It is a great honor and I am very proud and humbled to have received the Cross of Merit Pro Utilitate Hominum. It's an extraordinary acknowledgment for the fight against food waste”, said Selina.
The corresponding 5,000 DKK grant will be given to the Stop Wasting Food movement's charity event for homeless people in 2013.
The debate surrounding the recent proposition made by the Spanish government to introduce a one-week extension of sell-by dates for several essential food products to reduce food waste reveals that food labelling remains a confusion-ridden and controversial topic, despite recurring debates on the need for harmonisation and clarification of national rules at the EU level.
Tackling date label confusion is crucial in combating food waste. WRAP research in the UK shows that 45-49% of consumers misunderstand the meaning of the date labels “best before” and “use by,” contributing to “food not used in time” issues, which, according to WRAP, make up a total of 2.9 Mt or nearly 60% of avoidable household food waste in the UK. WRAP’s Household Food Waste Programme Manager, Andrew Parry, has estimated that 1 million tonnes of food waste, or over 20% of avoidable food waste in the UK, is linked to date label confusion, making the issue a principal factor in household food waste prevention.
Since households produce approximately 40% of food waste generated in the EU, clearing up date label confusion could be a central element in a coordinated European food waste prevention strategy. This is notably the opinion expressed in a 2010 study prepared for the European Commission by FUSIONS partner BIO Intelligence Service, in association with AEA Energy & Environment and the German Environment Agency. The report cites “Date labelling coherence” as a key policy option for reducing food waste generation in the EU.
Clarification of the application of date labels such as “best before,” “best before end,” “use by,” or “display until” dates, and the dissemination of this information to the public, the food industry and enforcement agencies, would help increase awareness of food edibility criteria and could thereby contribute to a significant reduction in food waste. Above all, what is crucial is understanding that “best before” dates are primarily related to quality rather than safety, and that using one’s own judgement (visual, olfactory and taste) is often more than adequate to determine whether a product is still edible.
We are thankful to observe that Europe is not alone in its fight against food waste. Public awareness campaigns and concrete preventive actions are spreading around the world.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Canadian authorities have reacted to the EU’s decision to tackle food waste. In October 2012, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, referring to European initiatives, recommended that Canada start acting too by reviewing “best before” labelling, officially designating food as "waste" so that a process can be set in place to encourage the industry to reduce or discourage unnecessary disposal of their products, distributing unused crops to food banks or others in need and educating consumers.
Previously, some pioneering cities - often reacting to pressures exercised by civil society associations - had started to take drastic measures to reduce local food waste. To give but one example: in February 2009, Elmore’s non-profit group “Elemental Impact” convinced Atlanta officials and its biggest food-service outfits to launch America’s first-ever Zero Waste Zone around its downtown hotels, restaurants, convention and sports centres. Since then, excess food is donated to shelters and soup kitchens, used food is diverted to feedstock, spent grease is made into biofuel, and food deemed inedible is turned into compost for new urban gardens around the city.
The recent appearance of similar initiatives in the most industrialised parts of the Asian continent is an encouraging sign. A first campaign targeting food waste reduction has been launched in Singapore: the Save Food Cut Waste movement aims at educating individuals, businesses and organisations about the environmental and social impacts of food waste. In Hong Kong, local food banks are being set up by a dozen NGOs and charities, while public authorities are now considering the introduction of a “Pay As You Throw” scheme to limit household waste generation. Finally, Chinese authorities also seem ready to address the food waste challenge, as announced last week by Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, during a Beijing conference dedicated to the issue.
All these efforts are most welcome. In this favourable international context, we hope to see Europe take a leading role by setting an example through the achievement of its targets for a 50% reduction in EU food waste and a 20% reduction in food chain resource inputs by 2020.
In order to raise awareness about food waste and promote collaborative action, it is necessary to make people see concretely how much food they waste in their day-to-day lives, as well as the cost of this loss.
This can for instance be done through the implementation of pilot demonstration projects. Thus, to make residents aware of just how much food they waste and encourage them to shop smarter and waste less, the council of Lewes District in East Sussex (UK ) is planning to experiment with a new separate food waste collection service. Similarly, during the European Week for Waste Reduction 2012 edition, the Recycle for London association organised a food waste challenge in partnership with Love Food Hate Waste to highlight the reality of food waste. The two-week challenge helped participants measure how much food they waste in a week and provided tips on how to reduce such waste in the future.
Another option is to make consumers realise that wasting food is also wasting money. The Irish Environmental Protection Agency prepared a particularly effective visual campaign for that purpose, with a video showing money being thrown away instead of food. However, the most concrete illustrations of the cost of food waste are being provided by private sector initiatives: the New York restaurant Hayaschi Ya, for instance, was the first to overcharge customers for not finishing their plates, while Wafu’s chef in Sydney offers a rebate to those who finish theirs. Several restaurants in Brazil and the Arab Emirates have also started to replace ‘all-you-can-eat ‘ by ‘pay-as-you-eat’ buffets to limit excessive food waste.
FUSIONS is working on defining the boundaries and scope of food waste, which will lead to the proposal of a quantification method for food waste in Europe. The application of a standard quantification methodology will allow for standardised calculation and comparison across the EU and may serve as a helpful first step to making all actors aware of the size of the problem.
One simple way to reduce food waste is to ensure that perfectly edible surplus food generated at the production, retail or consumption stages of the food chain is diverted from landfill and distributed instead to populations in need.
This is notably the rationale behind the work of local food banks. In Italy, for instance, a network of 21 non profit organisations led by the ONLUS Food Bank Association operate in all regions to recover fresh food before it becomes waste and redistribute it to people in need. In 2011 the network distributed more than 68,000 tonnes of food. Similarly but on a smaller scale, Madrid’s city hall is currently welcoming public banquets prepared with perfectly edible discarded food, in order to help Spanish citizens impacted by the economic crisis. Finally, in the wake of a successful pilot action implemented in cooperation with the leading European supermarket chain “Carrefour”, the Belgian city of Herstal recently chose to compel its 12 local supermarkets to give all their unsold perishable products to food banks.
The fight against food waste can also be carried out by consumers themselves at an individual level. To help them do so, some tools exist. The new German website foodsharing.de is one good example. The web platform works like an online supermarket, where people can sell and buy leftovers from other households, thereby avoiding waste. The food can be collected at the home of the seller or brought to collection points called “hotspots”. Similarly, the French Zéro-gâchis (Zero Waste) initiative addresses the issue of food products wasted during retail via a website allowing shoppers to identify discounts on products with soon-to-expire sell-by dates in nearby supermarkets. These products can thereby be diverted from landfill.
According to the FAO, about one-third of all food produced worldwide, equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. Wasting food also means wasting money, both at the household level and in businesses throughout the supply chain – about $200 billion annually in industrialised regions, as estimated by the FAO/UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Programme.
EU FUSIONS partners therefore welcome the launch, on 22 January 2013, of the United Nations’ ‘Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint’ global campaign against food waste. This first major international initiative dedicated entirely to the issue of food waste highlights the global significance and importance of the work carried out by FUSIONS, as well as the increasingly numerous and complementary national or local food waste reduction and prevention initiatives.
Raising awareness around the issue of food waste and sharing best practices in food waste reduction and prevention is the overarching aim of the ‘Think.Eat.Save’ campaign, which supports the FAO’s SAVE FOOD Initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption, as well as the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Initiative.
The campaign harnesses the expertise of organisations such as WRAP (UK Waste and Resources Action Programme) and Feeding the 5,000. It specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry and aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision, notably through the creation of an information-sharing portal for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world.
The campaign website – http://www.thinkeatsave.org/ – also provides concrete and simple tips for consumers and retailers to reduce the amount of food they waste, and allows users to make food
A visual recording of the campaign’s inaugural conference, which took place in Geneva on 22 January, is available here: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/multimedia/webcast/foodwaste.asp
A number of events organised for the 2012 edition of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) focused on food waste prevention including a household waste measurement and reduction challenge in the UK and a contest among French schools to reduce food waste in canteens.
The fourth edition of the Europe-wide European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) took place in November 2012 (17th to 25th), under the patronage of Mr Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.
Under the coordination of 35 organisers and with the support of the European Secretariat of the Week, a variety of project developers, including administrations, associations and NGOs, businesses and industry, educational establishments, and others coordinated awareness-raising actions on waste reduction throughout Europe. According to the latest count, 10,849 EWWR actions were implemented within the framework of the EWWR 2012 edition, among which events targeting the crucial issue of food waste figured prominently.
In the UK, for instance, the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign organised a two-week challenge, encouraging Londoners to measure the amount of food thrown away in week 1 and then providing tips on how to reduce it in week 2, while Scotland chose food waste as the lead theme for its national EWWR campaign. In France alone, 2888 actions were undertaken, many of them related to reducing food waste. Several French university restaurants hosted awareness-raising stands on food waste, while the municipalities of Axe Sud organised a contest amongst local schools, with an award for the children who reduced the largest amount of bread thrown away in their canteens.
Similarly, many Spanish regions as well as German länder organised food waste prevention activities. In Portugal, an “outreach menu” action sought to establish a social network to collect leftovers from restaurants and transfer them to families in need, while the Austrian region of Styria targeted food waste reduction by encouraging the adoption of daily gestures by households. Events were also organised in Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The FUSIONS kick-off was held at Wageningen University (the Netherlands) November 8-9, 2012, with all 21 partners organisations represented. The policy framework for food waste was illuminated through presentations by Dirk Pottier of DG Research and Hartmut Schrör of Eurostat, and a visit to the Restaurant of the Future demonstrated some practical applications.
Toine Timmermans (Project Coordinator) and Hilke Bos-Brouwers (Project Scientific Coordinator) welcomed participants to their campus and provided the project structure. Dirk Pottier, the EU Scientific Project Officer for FUSIONS, highlighted the importance of FUSIONS in contributing to greater resource efficiency and in helping to feed the growing population.
Hartmut Schrör of Eurostat presented the challenges of quantifying food waste across the EU-27 and the types of data currently available via Eurostat. He described the newly introduced “Food waste plug-in,” a voluntary extension of waste reporting requirements for Member States. The plug-in will cover 16 economic activities and 25 waste items. The first set of data, for 2012, will be delivered by participating Member States in June 2014.
The project team visited Wageningen’s Restaurant of the Future, a field laboratory where diners serve as experimental subjects in research on eating behaviour and food waste. The restaurant focuses on maximising waste prevention by offering diverse portion sizes and cooking with less frequently used parts of vegetables and livestock.
FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) is a research project working towards a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste.
FUSIONS has 21 project partners from 13 countries involving universities, knowledge institutes, consumer organisations and businesses. The project runs for 4 years, from August 2012 to July 2016 and is funded by the European Commission framework programme 7 (FP7).
The project will establish a European Multi-Stakeholder Platform to generate a shared vision and strategy to prevent food loss and waste across the whole supply chain through social innovation. Already more than 80 leading European organisations have pledged their support.
The project will contribute towards:
• the harmonisation of food waste monitoring;
• improved understanding of the extent to which social innovation can reduce food waste; and
• the development of guidelines for a common Food Waste policy for EU-27.
Through delivery of the key objectives, FUSIONS will support:
• delivery of a Roadmap towards a Resource Efficient Europe;
• the European Commission’s target of a 50% reduction of food waste; and
• a 20% reduction in the food chain’s resource inputs by 2020.
Wageningen UR (Netherlands); WRAP (UK); University of Bologna (Italy); SIK (Sweden); INRA (France); BIO Intelligence Service (France); Ostfoldforskning (Norway); Stop Wasting Food / Selina Juul (Denmark); Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (Austria); Institute for Food Research (UK); Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN - FAO (Italy); IVL (Sweden); MTT (Finland); Hacettepe Universitesi (Turkey); Hungarian Foodbank Association (Hungary); Development Agency of Eastern Thessaloniki’s Local Authorities (Greece); Universität Hohenheim (Germany); Last Minute Market (Italy); Koninklijke Ahold (Netherlands); Communiqué (Denmark); Tristram Stuart (UK)
You can follow FUSIONS on Facebook (EU FUSIONS, Community page) or Twitter (@EU_FUSIONS), or learn more via the project website