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