Food Waste


Food loss and waste are a serious challenge for the current global food system, revealing asymmetries, paradoxes and inequalities.

In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that 1/3 of the world’s food was lost or wasted every year. In the EU, the FUSION project estimated that food waste accounts for 88 million tonnes annually, with a value of roughly 143 billion euros.

But food waste is not just an economic or ethical issue; it also impacts the environment. According to the UNEP Food Waste Index 2021, it generates 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, thus contributing to climate change.

For this reason, the United Nations included “halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains by 2030” under its Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. Food waste is a challenging topic for the public procurement and catering sector, especially in countries that have not yet established a proper food waste policy or measurement tools.

The proposed tools include the development of a food waste strategy, procurement criteria to reduce food waste, and different ways to measure its amount as a starting point and to monitor the development. Moreover, several of the tools provide practical advice for kitchen professionals and other stakeholders on how to raise awareness on food waste and most importantly, how to prevent food waste.

Further Information

Tools in the Food Waste Gateway

This tool provides training material for introducing climate protection measures to kitchen professionals and includes 19 concrete measures concerning food selection, technology, behaviour, and waste management.

Compared to ordinary Cook and Serve and Cook and Chill meal manufacturing methods, Cook Cold, i.e. cold manufacturing, enables a continuous manufacturing process in the central, conventional or satellite kitchen. Manufacturing freshly cooked meals in this way saves energy and human resources as well as it prevents food waste.

Schools have a unique role in teaching and shaping young people's values and attitudes. This tool helps schools raise children's awareness about food waste, acquainting them with school cooks and presenting the canteen work in an event.

Diet for a Green Planet is a five criteria concept with a system perspective that offers framework and tested tools to support sustainable meals.

This tool helps to avoid food waste in catering services by taking an overall view of the public meal provision process, learning about the reasons for waste, and then eliminating them.

This tool helps school caterers to monitor the generation of food waste in school kitchens and dining halls and to record developments in its reduction.

Reducing food waste in public institutions is especially difficult for regions without an existing policy on this issue. Developing a strategy and an action plan with a multidisciplinary team can kickstart the change.

This tool explains how to increase the knowledge and competence of nutrition among carers of educational care centres.

Portions of public meals are often much too large, leading to increased food waste and/or unhealthy overeating. This tool shows how caterers can reduce their meal sizes to create “regular” and “small” portions.

If you plan to procure a new catering service for a public canteen, this tool helps to tackle food waste right from the start. It describes criteria for the procurement of catering services that help motivate catering companies to take actions against food waste.

This tool consists of various measures which help catering providers and the people working in kitchens and dining halls to take action in tackling food waste.

An important part of food waste – the plate waste – is generated during the serving and consumption of food. This tool helps with prevention of this food waste with customers.

How can we get everyone in a public institution on board for more healthy food and sustainable diets? One way is to provide a training program for all interested employees that includes cooking exercises, workshops and lectures.

This tool helps users get started with the implementation of a system for replacing single-use packaging with reusable containers, tackling food waste and waste from packaging at the same time.

How can teachers and school managers involve children in implementing food waste reduction solutions, influencing their eating habits and their attitudes toward food? Find some concrete guidance in this tool.

To prevent food waste in public catering, it is important to know how much and what kind of food waste is produced. This tool offers three different approaches on how to implement schemes for monitoring food waste.

Do you want to help ensure high-quality, organic, fresh, regional, seasonal, tasty, and yet economical public meals? This tool provides a concept for a training and networking program for kitchen professionals in public catering facilities.

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