Europe vs food waste

Every year, one third of world’s food and half of European food production is lost or wasted. Although some products are thrown away already at the manufacturing stage, most of the food is wasted at the end of the supply chain, i.e. in distribution and consumption. According to statistics, two thirds of products thrown away in households are still suitable for consumption. The socio-ecological problem was addressed by the European Parliament – EP urged EU countries to reduce food waste by 30% until 2025 and by 50% until 2030. How do European countries, member states as well as non-EU countries, handle food waste?

Although the most food can be found in the garbage cans of the Dutch, the issue of food waste in Poland also does not look optimistic, because we are responsible for 10% of the food thrown away in the entire European Union, which places us in the 5th place in the ranking. This means that during the year the EU wastes 90 million tons of food, and Poles themselves, 9 million tons.

It is obvious that the average person does not look at thrown away products in a wider time frame, which means that he cannot assess how the food waste affects even his budget. For this reason, the important mission of EU bodies and national authorities is to create programs that aim to make citizens aware of food waste and teach them a rational approach to shopping.

Consideration when buying food turns out to be particularly important during the holiday season, because – as statistics show – huge amounts of food in Poland are thrown away primarily during Christmas and Easter. It is also worth stressing that in general most of the food lands in garbage cans of young people.

A financial aspect is a key factor that can convince consumers to limit the volume of their purchases and waste of food products. By reducing the amount of thrown away food, every Pole could save more than 2000 PLN.

As far as the real and direct influence of state organs on the problem of food waste is concerned, it can only occur in case of the process of food production and distribution. A good example here is France, where traders are obliged to transfer part of the production to charity, and pay fines for the unjustified destruction of food.

In anti-food waste actions are also involved representatives of food industry themselves. At international level, the activities of Tesco enterprise are known, which, despite examining the scale of food waste, is trying to reduce the problem of throwing away food products at every stage of the supply chain.

During this year’s Economic Forum there will be held a discussion panel devoted to the problem of food waste. Among the guests of the debate Food Waste Prevention – How Does Europe Meet the Challenge? will appear representatives of food banks, food agencies and food industry. Participants of the discussion will consider how to prevent food waste, analyze its effects and current actions of the European Union and individual European countries to reduce the scale of food waste.