Counting the Cost of Food Waste: EU Food Waste Prevention - European Union Committee Contents


Data type and scale Main purpose Comment in relation to evidence received
EU level food waste data Compile EU level estimates on the scale of the issue (for example, 90 million tonnes of total food waste estimated for EU-27) across the whole supply chain. The results may offer a potential baseline for monitoring the pan-European food waste reduction target. Data were compiled from a combination of detailed 'in country' studies and assumptions were applied to existing EUROSTAT reporting categories, which are not specifically designed to report food waste tonnages separately.

Key challenges were: inconsistent methodologies and definitions; uneven measurement along the food supply chain; and a lack of clarity on 'by-products' within the manufacturing sector.[323]

Sectoral surveys of non-household sources Monitor waste in the following sectors: agricultural; food and drink manufacturing; retail and wholesale; and hospitality and food service. There are no estimates available from agriculture and this stage was not included within the 2010 EU baseline. The UK has produced sectoral data for all sectors apart from pre-farm gate.[324]

EUROSTAT data has been the main source of food and drink sector estimates in the EU. For other sectors there has been greater reliance on sectoral surveys and estimation exercises.[325]

Data generated by voluntary agreements within sectors Used to monitor collective progress towards sectoral targets.

Data from participating businesses not publicly disclosed.

The Courtauld Commitment and Hospitality and Food Service Agreement were UK examples cited widely by witnesses (see Appendix 5). These data sources were more relevant to larger firms from within the sectors, where signatories supply data to WRAP.
National household food waste data and monitoring programmes Such programmes aim to assist: waste prevention programme design; identification of waste types and key consumer messages; the monitoring of progress; the planning of treatment capacities for AD;[326] and planning for new waste treatment technologies within the waste sector.[327] Data derived from operational sources, such as UK's WasteDataFlow,[328] are used to quantify totals for source separated waste streams, but mixed waste streams containing food waste required detailed compositional analyses and few such studies have been conducted across the EU.[329]

Extensive research commissioned by WRAP has used an array of research methods to identify drivers and behaviours (such as diaries, surveys, linked to waste analysis).

Generally, the more contextual data is required to inform waste prevention, the more complex the research and data collection. The Netherlands Food Waste Monitor provided an example of national monitoring at different food supply chain stages.[330]

Data generated by voluntary reporting with full public disclosure Data, reported for each participating business, are used to monitor progress within the business for internal and external purposes. Examples of voluntary reporting with full public disclosure included retail sector data from the Norwegian project ForMat.[331] A similar development in the UK will result in major grocery retailers disclosing food waste arisings from 2015.[332]
Individual company/ institution food waste initiatives Mainly used to monitor progress for internal monitoring purposes. Examples were given from within the food service and retail sectors. The SFA in the Netherlands provided examples of self-reporting systems for food waste amongst contract caterers in the Netherlands.[333]
Innovations to aid food waste prevention and measurement Developed to facilitate waste prevention and measurement close to the point at which it may or does arise, such as in commercial or household kitchens. Examples included Unilever's 'Wise up on Waste' mobile phone application for chefs; [334] '' and ''.[335]
Forecasting of demand: food service; and within retail Improve business efficiency through better matching of supply and demand within food supply chains. The importance of demand forecasting as one factor in pushing down waste and surplus from food supply chains was reflected in evidence from the food service sector, retailers and producers alike.[336]

323   Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27, BIO Intelligence Service, a report commissioned by the European Commission, October 2010 Back

324   WRAP supplementary Back

325   Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27, BIO Intelligence Service, a report commissioned by the European Commission, October 2010 Back

326   Q 249 Back

327   Q 240 Back

328   Defra Back

329   Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27, BIO Intelligence Service, a report commissioned by the European Commission, October 2010 Back

330   Food waste, Wageningen University  Back

331   Q 123, Feeding the 5,000 Back

332   A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency, BRC, January 2014 Back

333   Q 165 Back

334   NFU Back

335   IME Back

336   Q 33, Q 272, Q 287 Back

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