The EU generated an estimated 88 million tonnes of food waste in 2012, or 173 kg per person. The food service sector produces around 12% of that waste (10.5 million tonnes per year), which includes both pre-consumer waste (vegetable trimmings, overproduction, spoiled items, burned items, salad bar leftovers and incorrect orders) and post-consumer waste (unfinished meals). Much of this waste is preventable through oversight, tracking and basic system changes.
The EU has identified resource efficiency and waste management as key elements of EU environmental policy and the Europe 2020 strategy. The circular economy action plan describes food waste as a ?priority area? and proposes a series of measures to reduce the EU?s annual food waste volume by 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.
To raise awareness about waste within the food industry, the LIFE FOSTER project will foster a bottom-up approach that focuses on prevention of food waste rather than recycling. This will be achieved through education of trainee chefs, kitchen staff and front-of-house restaurant personnel during the placements that form part of their studies. The project will also provide training on food waste to catering and hospitality sector trainers so that they teach the subject in their classes and thus reach more students. And it will target chefs and restaurateurs. It will encourage them to improve the management of restaurant kitchens by reducing the amount of wasted food and optimising food storage.
LIFE FOSTER intends to work with food service companies to identify technological solutions and procedures to reduce food waste. Finally, the project will involve regional and national policymakers, thus increasing their awareness both of food waste and of the EU platform on food waste.