Integrated approach vital to reduction food waste and loss

July 10, 2014
Integrated approach vital to reduction food waste and loss

Governments, international organisations, businesses and community agencies worldwide must create joint programmes to reduce food loss and waste (FLW), if they want to show that they are really committed to developing sustainable food systems. This is the only way to ensure that future populations have adequate amounts of good quality food. This is the keynote message of an advisory report, released on July 3, 2014, by the UN Committee on World Food Security's (CFS) High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition. Toine Timmermans, Programme Manager Sustainable Food Chains at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, and a project team member, was closely involved in developing the report.

The expert panel advises governments and international organisations about how to ensure proper integration of chains and systems into national and global food and nutrition policies. Food waste should be monitored via agreed and globally-consistent methods and can be seen as a means of making farming and food production systems more efficient and sustainable. Research on direct and indirect causes of FLW is essential. "We need to be able to identify those areas and processes where it would be most efficient to intervene", the panel said.

Four tracks

The expert panel recommends four parallel, mutually-supportive tracks, using an inclusive and participatory approach: 1. Improve data collection and knowledge sharing around FLW; 2. Develop effective strategies to reduce FLW, at the appropriate levels; 3. Take effective steps to reduce FLW. 4. Improve coordination of policies and strategies in order to reduce FLW. Per stakeholder, the panel mentions a number of concrete actions to be taken.

High Level Panel of Experts

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was established in 2010 as the science-policy interface of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The HLPE aims to improve the robustness of policy making by providing independent, evidence-based analysis and advice at the request of the CFS.

FAO figures

According to the FAO, globally nearly one-third of food produced for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tons per year – is either lost or wasted.

Explore further: Plan for sustainable food production and consumption part of U.N.'s 'Avoiding Future Famines' report

More information: The report is available online:

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not rated yet Jul 10, 2014
The large amount of fresh food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today's tough economy and for the food retailers. There is no single cure, or silver bullet for food waste reduction therefore, we should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of fresh perishables close to their expiration on supermarket shelves, combined with the consumer "Last In First Out" shopping behavior, might be the weakest link of the fresh food supply chain.
The "End Grocery Waste" App technology, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.

Rod Averbuch
Chicago, IL

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