The production of food that will not be consumed needlessly uses up natural resources, generates greenhouse gas emissions, and creates waste. We have some recos to reduce food wastage. Here’s what can be done for large-scale impact on food loss.
1. Common definitions and metrics
The absence of a shared definition of food loss and waste is, however, a significant limitation on the possibility of gathering comparable data and developing shared metrics at an international level, which is necessary for understanding the scope of the phenomenon and defining the common objectives for reducing it. For this reason, The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) recommends developing shared calculation methodologies appropriate for quantifying the impacts of food losses and waste. BCFN is a center of multidisciplinary analysis and proposals which aims to explore the major issues related to food and nutrition on a global scale.
2. Understanding the causes
The various players within the food supply chain, especially consumers, waste food partly because of their poor understanding of the scale of the waste that each person produces and its environmental and socio-economic impact. The BCFN considers it necessary to invest more in the analysis of the causes and impacts (including, but not limited to, environmental impact) of losses and waste for the individual food supply chains. It is necessary to understand, above all, why it seems actually economically “convenient” to waste: only then will it be possible to identify the most effective solutions.
3. Reducing in order to recover less
We need to concentrate our resources and efforts (at all levels) on initiatives aimed at reducing food losses and waste, addressing first and foremost the causes, rather than focusing only on recovery initiatives. The primary objective should, in fact, be to minimize the inefficiencies that lead to losses and waste, taking account of the particular features of the individual food supply chains.
For waste that cannot be eliminated (in the case of food products that are no longer saleable but still edible to humans), the priority should be to take action to recover and redistribute it to struggling sections of society. When waste cannot be redistributed, it should be designated for reuse for other purposes, such as animal feed or the production of bioenergy (non-edible scraps).
5. A political priority
The reduction of food losses and waste needs to be prioritized within political agendas. Within European institutions, recent discussions on the subject appear to have launched a process of defining concrete reduction targets and initiatives for influencing public opinion.
6. Cooperating to save
It is important to facilitate horizontal cooperation between farmers to reduce waste and to incentivize longer-term vertical (production-distribution) food chain agreements, enabling better planning to help respond appropriately to demand from the final consumer, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Establishing agreements between businesses throughout the food supply chain, thereby enhancing the coordination of their planning, may be the key to achieving greater correspondence between food product supply and demand.
7. Information for education
Last among the recos to reduce food wastage is data. Education and information initiatives need to be promoted at the consumer level in order to prevent and reduce food waste, with particular reference to food culture, food preparation, and the correct ways of preserving food. The correct interpretation of the expiry date shown on products plays a particularly significant role.