Every year some 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted worldwide, representing one third of all food produced for human consumption. The greatest food waste occurs in high-income countries. In the EU, an estimated 89 million tonnes/yr of food is wasted, coming from households (42%), the manufacturing sector (39%), retail/wholesale (5%) and food service/catering (14%). The environmental impact of this waste is considerable, equating to 170 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent/yr and amounting to 3% of total EU27 greenhouse gas emissions in 2008. It also places great stress on water and land resources, soil and biodiversity. Costs associated with food waste are enormous (some 2 300 billion/yr worldwide, when environmental and social impacts are taken into account).
The main causes of food waste include lack of consumer awareness and lack of communication along the supply chain. Anti-waste initiatives typically address only consumers, neglecting the agri-food companies and retailers. Cross-cutting initiatives are therefore necessary.
The LIFE-Food.Waste.StandUp projects main objective was to raise awareness of surplus food management and food waste prevention among three key actors of the food supply chain: agri-food companies, food retailers and consumers. This would be done by means of a coordinated information campaign, carried out at national and European level.
Specific project objectives were to:
The Circular Economy Package includes a proposal for Member States to develop national food waste prevention strategies to reduce food waste by at least 30% by 2025. The project contributes to this ambitious goal by supporting the activation and further reinforcement of the existing Italian national food waste prevention programmes.
The LIFE-Food.Waste.StandUp project raised awareness of surplus food management among agri-food companies, food retailers and consumers. This aim was reached through the promotion and dissemination of information, the strengthening of awareness and knowledge, the clear support to the implementation of the Italian food waste law and the creation of synergies and knowledge exchange among food supply chain actors in Italy and the EU.
Specific quantitative results included:
The project has been introduced to policymakers in Europe, including during Green Week and in an event in the European Parliament. Meetings have been held also with officials of DG-SANTE, the Rappresentanza Permanente dellItalia presso lUE, and members of the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA). Besides, agreements were signed with seven members of the network of National Food Platforms to update their Strategic Research Agenda by including the "prevention of food waste" and "food donation" in it in the coming years (Slovenia, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Greece and France).
At national/regional level, 10 roadshows were held the Italian regions of Veneto, Lombardy, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sicily and Friuli Venezia Giulia. These events brought together stakeholders on a regional basis (food retailers, decision makers, associations involved in the food surplus redistribution, and academia), to help adapt to the national food waste law. They typically ended with the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the regional authorities that committed them to launch a common action against food waste. Furthermore, an EU tour was carried out by the associated beneficiary FBAO (Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus), with full support of FEBA, around European food banks in Slovenia, Greece, Malta and Ireland.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).