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Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Resources, Conservation and Recycling


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/resconrec

Review

Food waste prevention in Europe A cause-driven approach


to identify the most relevant leverage points for action
Carmen Priefer , Juliane Jrissen, Klaus-Rainer Brutigam
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlstrae 11, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The reduction of food waste is seen as an important lever for ensuring food security and diminishing
Received 26 November 2015 environmental burdens. In context of the forthcoming revision of the European Waste Directive the EC is
Received in revised form 22 February 2016 planning to commit its Member States to reduce their food waste by 30% until 2025. To reach this ambi-
Accepted 5 March 2016
tious objective effective prevention measures have to be implemented. This requires detailed knowledge
Available online 17 March 2016
on drivers and reasons for food waste generation along the food supply chain and the hotspots of wastage.
The paper provides information on these two topics. Main drivers for food waste generation are process-
Keywords:
and market-based standards, non-compliance with food safety requirements, exceeding of expiry dates,
Food waste
Food supply chain
marketing standards or logistic constraints, but also consumer preferences and societal trends like grow-
Prevention measures ing prosperity, declining food prices, rising number of single households and increasing employment of
Policy options women. As surveys and calculations indicate, the highest waste rates in Europe occur at the rst stage
(primary production) and the last stage (household sector) of the supply chain. The paper further presents
a set of policy options on European and national level which are considered most promising to prevent
food waste. The selection is based on a thorough literature review, reecting also the results of a stake-
holder workshop held in November 2014. The analysis reveals that most of the prevention measures
implemented in the EU Member States up to now are soft instruments like awareness campaigns, round
tables, networks and information platforms. In addition to this soft instruments, the paper advocates for
the introduction of more rigorous approaches like the abolishment of subsidies on food, amendments to
EU regulations and economic incentives. Further research is required to assess the impacts and efcacy
of economic and regulatory instruments.
2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Contents

1. Drivers and reasons for food losses along the food supply chain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
2. Contribution of the individual stages in the supply chain and different types of food to total food waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
3. Leverage points to reduce food waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
3.1. Target setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
3.2. Improvement of the database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
3.3. Establishment of an integrated supply chain management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
3.4. Awareness campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
3.5. Reviewing EU legislation on food safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
3.6. Streamlining food date labelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
3.7. Amendment of European marketing standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
3.8. Opening of alternative marketing channels for agricultural products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
3.9. Economic incentives to promote sustainable consumption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
3.10. Taxes and fees on waste treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 721 608 23039.


E-mail address: carmen.priefer@kit.edu (C. Priefer).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.03.004
0921-3449/ 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
156 C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

3.11. Combating food waste in the hospitality sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163


3.12. Promotion of food redistribution programmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
4. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

1. Drivers and reasons for food losses along the food supply 2. Contribution of the individual stages in the supply chain
chain and different types of food to total food waste

Over the last decades the food supply chain has become longer For an efcient strategy to combat food waste it is important to
and progressively complex due to market globalization, higher know in addition to the reasons leading to food being wasted
consumer expectations regarding the variety of choices and the the contributions of the different stages of the supply chain to the
freshness of products as well as an increasing migration of popu- total amount of food waste and the types of food that are wasted
lation from rural to urban areas. This involves growing distances most.
between producer and consumer, longer cold chains, more inter- Fig. 1 shows the contributions of the single stages of the sup-
mediaries and increased risks of losses. It is estimated that almost ply chain to total food waste across EU-28. The gure is based on
one third of the food produced for human consumption approxi- own calculations using FAOSTAT-data from 2011 (FAO, 2015) and
mately 1.3 billion tonnes per year is wasted globally (FAO, 2013). the methodology provided by the Swedish Institute for Food and
Some authors (inter alia Gustavsson et al., 2011; Waarts et al., Biotechnology (SIK) (Gustavsson et al., 2011, 2013). The methodol-
2011; Partt et al., 2010) distinguish between food losses and ogy for the calculations as well as their advantages and limitations
food waste. Following this distinction food losses take place at are describes in detail by Brutigam et al. (2014).
the earlier stages of the supply chain, during cultivation, harvest- In accordance with the ndings of other studies (Monier et al.,
ing, post-harvest treatment and processing, while losses occurring 2010; Partt et al., 2010; Grethe et al., 2011; WRAP, 2015) our
at the end of the supply chain, during retail and nal consumption, calculations indicate that the household sector is one of the
are referred to as food waste. Food that was originally dedicated most signicant contributors to total food waste in industrialised
to human consumption, but is removed from the supply chain, is countries. In contrast to the prevailing opinion that losses at the
considered as food waste, even if it is brought to a non-food use. In stage of primary production in developed countries are negligi-
this paper we use the two terms interchangeable. On a per capita ble, the calculations show further that also the rst step of the
basis, much more food is wasted in industrialised than in devel- food chain makes a substantial contribution to total food waste in
oping countries. The FAO estimates that the per capita amount of Europe.
food waste in Europe and North America is 95115 kg/year, while Fig. 2 shows the contribution of different food groups to the
in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia this gure is about amount of total food waste in the household sector across EU-
611 kg/year (Gustavsson et al., 2011). Although the estimates of 28. The gure indicates that for many Member States the most
global losses along the supply chain are based on highly uncertain important food groups in households food waste generation are
data, there is no doubt that considerable quantities are involved fruit and vegetables as well as cereals, followed by dairy products,
which would be sufcient, seen purely mathematically, to curb whereas the share of meat and sh in total food waste is relatively
global hunger (Kreutzberger and Thurn, 2011). Experts assume that small.
reducing food waste has the potential to impact signicantly on The production of food, regardless of whether it is consumed or
increasing food security (e.g. Ingram et al., 2013). wasted, is connected with adverse environmental impacts. Wast-
Food losses can arise at every stage of the food supply chain, for ing food means losing not only life-supporting nutrition but also
a multitude of reasons, inuenced by the actions of many differ- scarce resources like land, water and energy that were expended
ent players (WRAP, 2015). On the level of agricultural production, in the production, processing and distribution of food. The FAO
losses in industrialised countries may occur due to bad weather estimates that 0.9 million hectares of land and 306 km3 of water
conditions, sorting out because of rigorous quality standards and are needed to produce the amount of food that is wasted per year
market prices that do not justify the expenses of harvesting. In on a global level (FAO, 2014). The production of animal-derived
food manufacturing and processing, losses may result from wash- products requires considerably more resources than the produc-
ing, peeling, slicing and boiling, during process interruptions or tion of grain-based food. Complementary to the saving of resources
when products are sorted out as not suitable. In distribution an efcient handling of food would reduce agricultural emissions.
(wholesale and retail), losses may arise due to packaging dam- According to Monier et al. (2010) the food wastage in Europe is
ages, non-compliance with food safety requirements, exceeding responsible for the release of at least 170 Mt of CO2 -eq which is
of expiry dates, inadequate stock management, marketing strate- broadly 1.9 tonnes of CO2 -eq per tonne of food waste. Worldwide
gies and logistical constraints. At the stage of nal consumption GHG emissions due to food waste are even twenty times as high,
losses may arise due to consumer preferences, wrong purchase 3.49 Gt CO2 -eq in gures (FAO, 2014). Although the contribution of
planning, incorrect interpretation of expiry dates, inadequate stor- meat products to the total amount of food waste is small compared
age, cooking of oversized meals and lack of knowledge about how to fruit and vegetables and cereals (see Fig. 2), the largest consump-
to reuse leftovers (BCFN, 2012; IMECHE, 2013; HLPE, 2014: 35 et tion of resources and the highest greenhouse gas emissions per kg
seq.). Table 1 gives an overview of the main reasons for the wastage are caused by meat products, of which beef products are the most
of food along the different stages of the supply chain. important (WRAP, 2010; Gbel et al., 2012; FAO, 2013; Scholz et al.,
Besides these everyday causes for food losses listed in the table, 2015). These losses will be exacerbated by a signicant move away
there are also societal and economic trends which promote the from a predominance of grain-based diets towards substantial con-
wastage of food, mainly on household level. This includes growing sumption of animal-derived products. Due to increasing prosperity
prosperity, decreasing food prices, urbanisation, rising number of in developing countries the per capita caloric intake from meat
single households and increasing employment of women including consumption is assumed to rise by 40% until mid-century (IMECHE,
multiple burdens in work and family life (Jrissen et al., 2015). 2013).
C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165 157

Table 1
Overview of the main reasons for food waste on the different stages of the food supply chain in industrialised countries.

Stages of the chain Contributory factors

Sorting out of products at farm gate due to rigorous qualitative standards set up by large-scale distributors concerning weight, size,
shape and appearance
Agricultural production
Market prices that do not justify the expense of harvesting
Overproduction due to supply agreements with retail chains
Crop damaged during harvesting

Irregular sized products trimmed to t or rejected entirely


Inconsistency of manufacturing processes leading to misshapen products or product damage
Contamination in production process causing loss of quality
Manufacturing
Food spoilage due to packaging problems
Surplus production of supermarkets own brands that cannot be sold elsewhere
Excess stock due to take-back systems and cancellation of orders

Lack of cold storage/interruption of the cold chain


Packaging defects resulting in product damage
Distribution and Overstocking due to inaccurate ordering and forecasting demand
wholesale/retail Obligation for retailers to order a wide range of products and brands from the same producer in order to get benecial prices
Failure to comply with minimum food safety standards (e.g. microbial contamination, pesticide residues)
Marketing strategies like buy one get one free

Oversized dishes
Offer of buffets at xed prices encouraging people to take more than they can eat
Hospitality industry
Use of individual portion packs (e.g. for jams, cereals, juice and milk) that do not meet the customers needs
and catering
Difculties in assessing the demand (number of customers)
EU hygiene rules, e.g. two-hour guarantee on unrefrigerated products

Lack of planning/knowledge concerning food purchase and storage


Impulse purchases (buying items that are not currently needed)
Purchasing of new products that the consumer then do not like
Inadequate package sizes (e.g. oversized ready to eat meals)
Poor storage management (e.g. inadequate wrapping)
Households
Confusion about date labels (best before, use by)
Lack of skills for food preparation
Poor experience in planning meals
Preparing oversized meals
Lack of skills for recombining leftovers into new meals

Sources: Monier et al. (2010), Partt et al. (2010), Gustavsson et al. (2011), BCFN (2012) and IMECHE (2013).

Fig. 1. Share of the different stages of the food chain to total food waste in EU-28 for the year 2011 (own calculations).
158 C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

Fig. 2. Share of different food groups on total food waste generation in the household sector across EU-28 for the year 2011 (own calculations).

It should be noted that the environmental impacts inevitably the workshop, participants should nominate their ve favourites
add up along the supply chain; so one tonne of food waste in the to prevent food waste.
household sector (i.e. at the last stage of the chain) causes much Based on previous work and the insights gained by the work-
higher environmental costs than one tonne of food waste in the shop, the most promising approaches were selected for the present
manufacturing sector. Beretta et al. (2013) illustrate this fact by paper (see overview in Box 1), taking into account the experiences
the following example: Carrots remaining in the elds are ecolog- already gained in different countries as well as existing obstacles.
ically less relevant than carrots wasted by households after being Most promising means approaches that are considered in litera-
transported, stored, packaged and processed. ture (inter alia Reisch et al., 2013; WRAP, 2015) or in the current
debate as particularly useful, easy to implement and able to achieve
long-term gains and/or that have already proven their effectiveness
3. Leverage points to reduce food waste
in practice. Although the latter stages of the supply chain play a piv-
otal role quantitatively as well as from an ecological point of view
Based on the analysis of drivers and reasons for food wast-
food gets lost at every step of the food chain. Hence, any success-
ing as well as of the contributions of the different stages of the
ful strategy to tackle the issue cannot dispense to take all stages
supply chain to the total amount of food waste (see Chapters 1
and players into consideration.
and 2) an assessment of the approaches to mitigate the wast-
ing of food, which have been submitted in the current national
and international debate, and partially already implemented, was 3.1. Target setting
carried out (see Priefer et al., 2013, pp. 90125). In order to
test the results of this assessment in the view of practitioners, There is general agreement that the determination of quantita-
a workshop with participants from different stages of the food tive temporary reduction targets for EU-27 should build the basis
supply chain (primary production, manufacturing, retail, the hos- for action in all Member States. Reduction targets are helpful to
pitality sector, representatives of ministries and public authorities raise awareness, to stimulate focused attention and to mobilise
as well as consumer associations, environmental organisations political action towards reduction strategies. Furthermore, they are
and other non-governmental organisations) was carried out in important for gauging progress and for evaluating the effectiveness
November 2014. In advance to the workshop a list of 26 pro- of different measures. This in turn requires a regular monitoring of
posed instruments was sent to the participants. The measures were food waste generation along the entire food chain. Up to now, the
classied according to their type (informational, collaborative, efforts among Europe have been very disparate. A variety of pri-
organisational, regulatory, economic and technical instruments) vate initiatives can be found in nearly all States, while the issue is
and concerned either an individual stage of the supply chain or not yet present on all political agendas. The BIOIS-study (Monier
had cross-cutting character. The participants were asked to select et al., 2010) recommends the setting of specic food waste pre-
seven measures which they consider to be particularly important vention targets by each individual Member State, as part of the
and worthy a discussion. Based on the results of this voting ten waste prevention programmes required by the EU Waste Frame-
measures were chosen for the discussion. Aim of the workshop work Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC of 19 November 2008). The
was to evaluate the instruments in terms of relevance, feasibility World Resources Institute (Lipinski et al., 2013) suggests the set-
and acceptance as well as to identify obstacles for the implemen- ting of targets to be adopted across different spatial scales: from
tation and conicting interests of the stakeholders. At the end of global to national to sub-national level, which includes provinces
C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165 159

or any combination of methods. That means that there is no com-


Box 1: Overview of most relevant leverage points and pulsory instruction how data have to be collected. As a result, it is
options for action against food wastage difcult to assess the reliability of data provided by various gov-
ernmental authorities and the comparability of data from different
Setting of mandatory reduction targets on national,
countries or even from different years for the same country.
regional and local level and agreement on voluntary com-
Given this situation, there are three key requirements for
mitments for the manufacturing, retail and hospitality sector
Improvement of the underlying data sources by stan- improving the underlying data sources (Monier et al., 2010; BIOIS,
dardising methods of data collection and calculation as well 2011; Priefer et al., 2013):
as clear denition of terms
Establishment of an Integrated Supply Chain Manage- (1) Development of an agreed and binding denition of the term
ment in order to increase coordination along the food supply food waste on European level, which differentiates between
chain unavoidable food waste (referring to the non-edible parts of
Reviewing the current regime of food safety regula- raw products), by-products and food waste that would have
tions in order to identify provisions that are not mandatory been avoidable. Avoidable food waste is dened as products
to protect human life, but lead to unnecessary food waste that are still t for human consumption at the time of discarding
Streamlining food date labelling in order to improve the
or products that would have been edible if they were eaten in
comprehensibility of expiry dates
Replacing European marketing standards related to the time (Gbel et al., 2012).
external appearance of a product by standards that refer to (2) Standardisation of the methods used for the collection and cal-
its quality for human consumption and growing conditions culation of data on food waste generation in Europe related
Opening of alternative marketing channels for agri- to all stages of the food chain. This implies an extension of
cultural products by establishing a closer link between the NACE-classication of the previous missing sectors whole-
producers and consumers sale/retail and food services/catering.
Reviewing the EU tax regulation in order to remove all (3) Separate collection and measurement of food waste generation
incentives that may encourage the generation of food waste at all stages of the food chain, whether voluntarily or mandato-
Introduction of taxes and fees on waste treatment as
rily, in order to enhance transparency and foster awareness of
well as mandatory separate collection of food waste
Combating food waste in the hospitality sector by the problem among all players involved.
offering individual portion sizes, careful menu planning and
improvement of internal routines It is among the tasks of the ongoing FUSIONS-project to elabo-
Promotion of food redistribution programmes for sur- rate recommendations concerning these issues. Alongside to efforts
plus food to charitable organisations in standardisation of data collecting, mathematical models should
be further developed in order to check the plausibility of data, but
also to estimate the impact of different prevention measures or of
specic scenarios (Brutigam et al., 2014).
and cities. New York City for example is currently pursuing the The workshop mentioned above reveals that opinions on this
target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030 (ibid.). issue vary considerably. On the one side concerns about the
Overlooking the individual stakeholders the question arises required efforts were articulated, especially for small enterprises
whether statutory or voluntary obligations are more suitable to which commonly do not have automatic inventory and ordering
tackle the problem on the different stages of the food chain. Vol- systems. Big operators, on the other side, fear losses in reputation
untary obligations are broadly accepted, while statutory duties are when data will become publicly available. But also gains in reputa-
seen critically, especially by the food industry and the retail sec- tion were seen as a possible effect when entrepreneurs show that
tor. One example for voluntary commitments is the target set by they actively combat food waste generation in their companies.
Arla Food, Europes second largest company for dairy products, to
reduce food loss and waste in the company and its supply chains by 3.3. Establishment of an integrated supply chain management
50% by 2020 compared to 2010 levels (Lipinski et al., 2013). Another
example is the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement on Reducing food waste demands action from a plurality of players:
the reduction of food and packaging waste in the UK with more than farmers, food companies, retailers, consumers and policymakers.
40 signatories, including manufacturers, retailers and brands like It also requires changes in technologies, practices, behaviour and
Nestl, Tesco and Unilever (ibid.). The Commitment was launched policy. This complexity suggests that no individual group can
in 2005 and 2.3 million tonnes of waste, equivalent to 3.5 billion sufciently tackle the problem, but that cooperation is strongly
(product waste as well as packaging waste) were saved by 2013 needed (Lipinski et al., 2013). Due to the ever-increasing degree
(Goodwin, 2013). of processing the food supply chain has become more confusing.
There is a strong division of labour, so that the individual opera-
3.2. Improvement of the database tions are not known at all preceding and subsequent stages of the
chain. Carried by this mutual lack of knowledge waste is gener-
Consensus also exists that the lack of reliable data hampers the ated, particularly at the interfaces. Furthermore, many technical
implementation of successful measures to reduce wastage. With- and/or organisational solutions can be effective only when all parts
out reliable data neither a robust estimate of the magnitude of food of the food supply chain cooperate in mutual agreement. For exam-
waste generation on the different stages of the supply chain nor a ple, if retailers use poor forecasting techniques with the result that
comparison between different countries will be feasible. Starting food orders later have to be cancelled, they contribute to wipe out
with the reference year 2004, Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 on efciency gains made in the food industry. Thus, the information
waste statistics requires EU Member States to provide data on the ow across the chain should be encouraged and supported with
generation, recovery and disposal of waste to Eurostat every two appropriate tools. Progress in reducing food waste will require an
years. However, as stated in the explanatory text of the Eurostat Integrated Food Supply Chain Management (Gbel et al., 2012;
database on waste generation and treatment, the Member States Lipinski et al., 2013). The establishment of networks, round tables,
are free to decide on the methods used for data collection. Possible discussion forums or information pools might be useful, that aim at
options are: surveys, administrative sources, statistical estimates bringing together key stakeholders, experts and representatives of
160 C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

public authorities and civil society organisations, in order to tackle may conict with the ambition to avoid food waste. Strict norms
the challenge of preventing food waste along the entire food chain. for the tolerable contamination of food, Maximum Residue Lev-
In the workshop we carried out it was emphasised that mutual trust els for pesticides and veterinarian medicines as well as hygienic
is a central prerequisite for the success of such a dialogue. The pos- rules concerning the packaging and storage of food are seen as
sible benets are assessed to be high by the stakeholders, especially signicant drivers promoting the discarding of edible food in pri-
in terms of learning from best practice of partners. But it was also mary production, retail and the hospitality sector (Waarts et al.,
pointed out by the NGOs that such a dialogue needs the setting of 2011; Marthinsen et al., 2012). The study of Waarts et al. identi-
binding goals by politics in order to hold these conversations with ed norms that are geared to the technically feasible minimum,
a certain degree of commitment. the zero tolerance policy for certain substances, long procedures
to get authorisation and the prohibition of mixing and chemical or
3.4. Awareness campaigns physical treatment of food in order to reduce the contamination
level as important obstacles in the ght against food waste. In the
All available studies agree on the fact that consumer infor- light of even more precise methods of measurement, which enable
mation and education are crucial instruments to inuence their even the smallest traces of pollution to be detected, the current
behaviour. Meanwhile there is a wide variety of awareness cam- practice of setting maximum levels according to the precaution-
paigns throughout Europe, aiming to reinforce the importance of ary principle should be reconsidered. Also some rules under the
food waste prevention and to increase the respect for food. They current European food hygiene regime, such as short deadlines for
instruct consumers about the proper handling of food by provid- storing open packages or already prepared food, the 2 h guarantee
ing tips on shopping, shelf life, storage, preparation and recovery on unrefrigerated products and the obligation to discard food once
of food. Hanss and Bhm (2013) conclude from a six-month study supplied (catering service), should be reviewed in order to assess
with 150 participants that informational campaigns can promote if they are really indispensable to protect human health or can be
sustainable behaviours and supplement structural strategies like relaxed.
subsidies or taxes. One of the most famous and successful cam- A prerequisite for any weakening of the strict standards in force
paigns in Europe is certainly the British Love Food Hate Waste is that further research will be carried out to exclude microbio-
campaign, supported by the government and operated by WRAP logical and chemical risks for consumers. However, the question,
(Waste & Resources Action Programme) which was launched in whether the setting of less stringent norms would actually result
2007. These efforts have helped to reduce household food waste in in a reduction of food waste, is controversial. Some argue that fruit
the UK by 21% between 2007 and 2012 (WRAP, 2013). Meanwhile, producers, wholesalers and supermarkets would not adopt toned
there are similar initiatives in different European countries like the down norms in practice. In the past the affected parties often adhere
Danish campaign Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop Wasting Food), the Ger- to even stricter safety limits than required by law, as a result of
man Zu gut fr die Tonne (too good for the bin), the French Qui the naming and shaming of retailers by telecasts and NGOs in the
jette un oeuf, jette un boeuf,1 the Catalan De menjar, no en llencem context of food contamination scandals.
ni mica (Of a meal do not even waste a tiny bit) or the Portuguese
Movimento Zero Desperdcio (Zero Waste Movement). 3.6. Streamlining food date labelling
Awareness campaigns should be tailored to different target
groups, in close cooperation with retailers and the hospitality sec- The current system of food labelling is regarded as another legal
tor, using various media. To be efcient, consumer education has to barrier to a responsible handling of food. Consumer surveys in
start at infancy; thus, all Member States should include the topic of various Member States have shown that there is considerable con-
a sparing and careful handling of food into school curricula. Some fusion about expiry dates and the difference between best before
European countries like France, the Netherlands and the UK have and use by dates as consumers connect both terms with spoilage
already implemented curricula of this type for all levels of edu- and inedibility of products (WRAP, 2008; Katajajuuri et al., 2012;
cation (BIOIS, 2011). Furthermore, schools are places where food Graham-Rowe et al., 2014; Jrissen et al., 2015). While the use by
waste may occur. Due to an increasing employment of mothers, date is the latest date recommended for the use of a product from
a large share of children has to eat lunch at school. Different fac- a food safety perspective (e.g. for minced meat, raw sh), the best
tors play an important role for food wastage at school canteens: before date does not refer to food safety. It can be seen as a war-
ready-made portion sizes that do not meet childrens needs, limited ranty of liability by the producer, and groceries should be safe to
budgets and a lack of motivation of service providers to offer high- eat after this date. The best-before dates are not set by law, they
quality meals (Bergman et al., 2003). The integration of nutrition are normally determined by manufacturers on the basis of labo-
issues in early childhood education may lead to signicant positive ratory studies (Waarts et al., 2011). Interviews with various food
effects on consumers behaviour, using simple instruments with- chain operators revealed that food producers set best-before dates
out great additional expenses. Several Member States have already very conservatively and retailers decide not to sell products which
developed materials for schools, including lesson plans, factsheets, have passed that date in order to limit their risk in terms of product
joint activities, lms and teacher guidelines (BIOIS, 2011). Engstrm liability and potential damage to reputation (ibid.).
and Carlson-Kanyama (2004) proposed to carry out educational Against this backdrop the existing regulations on food labelling
lunches in order to increase childrens esteem of food under prac- should be reviewed in order to improve the deniteness and visual
tical conditions and encourage them to avoid food waste. presentation of expiry dates. Stakeholders of the food supply chain
advocate for the setting of new best-before dates according to true
3.5. Reviewing EU legislation on food safety
shelf life of products and for the abolition of expiry dates for stable
Legal requirements for the prevention of risks to consumers foods like salt, sugar, tea, coffee, rice, dried pasta, hard cheese or
life and health, which are anchored in various EU regulations, dried beans (Waarts et al., 2011; dlv, 2012). The initiative of the
Netherlands and Sweden to extend the list of products exempted
from the obligation to bear a best before date on their packaging
1
is a rst step in this direction. A large number of Member States
The slogan is a pun on the French proverb qui vole un oeuf, vole un boeuf (the
one that wastes an egg, will waste an ox), roughly equivalent to the English proverb
supported the call for a change in labelling. But there are also con-
once a thief, always a thief. In the slogan the word voler (steal) is replaced by the cerns that relaxing the rules could weaken the quality and safety of
word jetter (throw away). products (EU, 2015). Critiques fear that products with scrapped best
C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165 161

before labelling would be increasingly vulnerable to fraud since agricultural sector. Whereas large farming enterprises have
they might also be subject to less rigid control. This applies par- adjusted their production to the standards, smaller producers
ticularly for coffee and rice as they are among the 11 products would more likely benet from the change (ibid.). Criticism of the
most affected by food fraud. Proponents of keeping the date further reform, however, came not only from parties concerned, but also
argue that the consumption of products after the best before data from others. Legal experts criticise the inconsistent treatment of
is related to health risks since components from the packaging can individual product groups that cannot be justied by compelling
migrate into the food after a certain period of time. Another argu- reasons (Tobler, 2010). Protagonists of a fundamental restructu-
ment is that consumers might even throw away more food in the ring of food production argue that the European legislator should
absence of any shelf-life information, because they can no longer set another type of standards, not relating to the external appear-
recall the date of purchase. Furthermore the abolishment of best ance of a product, but to its quality for human consumption in
before dates for stable foods does not affect the products wasted terms of taste, natural purity, nutrition value, ingredients, growing
the most like fruit and vegetables, bakery and dairy products. A conditions, etc. (Stuart, 2009; Kreutzberger, 2012).
general remark to this debate which was also emphasised in the In practice, the impacts of repealing the specic marketing
workshop is the need for an agreed list of products which should standards remained quite small. The expectation that the sale of
be addressed with this amendment. The Commission recently pro- products with deviant shape, size and colour would signicantly
posed to establish a working group to revise the list of products and increase was not fullled. One reason is that the 26 types of fruit
to start taking initial measures by the end of 2015 (ibid.). Retailers and vegetables covered by the repealed norms account for only 25%
are further recommended to apply price reductions for products of all fruit and vegetables marketed in the EU. The more impor-
close to the expiry date. An innovative suggestion is to integrate tant reason is that especially the trading sector has an interest in
information on best-before dates in the barcodes, allowing auto- maintaining the standards, providing an objective yardstick, which
matic price reductions at the checkout (Kreutzberger and Thurn, facilitates business relationships between producers, manufactur-
2011). ers and retailers (BVL, 2012). Furthermore, the logistic processes
Intelligent labels (like Time-Temperature-Indicators, TTI) which in storage, packaging and distribution are geared to standard-
show the state of a product via colour change should be fur- ised products and cannot handle goods with irregular size and
ther studied in pilot projects. It is assumed, that on the one hand shape (Waarts et al., 2011). Thus, the original statutory standards
they can help to prevent food wastage by indicating the real are further used by different food companies in form of private
perishableness, but on the other hand food waste can also be norms. Proposals to overcome the perceived barriers are, besides
increased by allowing a precise auditability of cold chain interrup- a fundamental reformulation of the quality standards, alternative
tions (Kreyenschmidt et al., 2010). Interviews in Germany showed distribution channels and innovative marketing strategies for sec-
that consumers are rather open and positive towards the TTI- ond class goods. The proposal of setting a new type of standard met
technology. Focus group discussions with Finnish consumers lead with little interest among the participants of our workshop because
to similar results (Pennanen et al., 2013): Consumers considered of doubts about its feasibility and meaningfulness. Votes against
intelligent labels to be innovative, to be capable to improve food this approach argued that it would not be possible to determine and
safety, transparency and reliability in the cold chain, to assist the control such characteristics by law. Others declared that the major
choice of products in the shop and to rene consumers opportu- aim should be to bring second glass goods into commercialisation
nities for monitoring. But also doubts were mentioned, regarding and to allow exceptions from standards instead of establishing new
manipulation and removal of labels by retailers, outsourcing con- norms. Representatives of retail argued that giving up norms in
sumers personal responsibility, increasing food waste, insufcient terms of shape and size would also mean inefciencies in distribu-
information and confusion about the technology and other labels tion, resulting in higher emissions of greenhouse gases. In contrast,
as well as rising prices of goods. alternative marketing channels as well as the opening of the com-
mon channels for deviant products are seen to be central starting
3.7. Amendment of European marketing standards points.

Although the European marketing standards are no longer a 3.8. Opening of alternative marketing channels for agricultural
legal barrier in the proper sense, they can still hamper the mar- products
keting of certain agricultural products. By Regulation (EC) No
1221/2008 of 5 December 2008 the number of specic European Due to a growing interest in sourcing local food and an
marketing standards for fresh fruit and vegetables was cut back increasing concern about the adverse impacts of an industrialised
from 36 to 10. The intentions pursued with this reform were to agro-food business, decentralised direct marketing schemes have
increase product choices for the consumer and to reduce waste. signicantly augmented in recent years. The original idea of direct
The reduction of waste was expected to have also positive impacts marketing was not avoiding food waste, but to foster community,
on food prices (Milzow, 2009). to preserve local food production, to revitalise rural economies
The repealing of the specic marketing standards in 2009 and to protect the environment (Adam, 2006). Nevertheless, for
was supported by most consumer associations and environmental various reasons circumventing the middlemen in the food supply
groups, primary in view of the intensions pursued. Among pro- chain can contribute signicantly to the prevention of food waste.
ducers, wholesalers and retailers there were, however, also many Direct marketing shortens transport distances between producers
voices in favour of the standards. In particular, farmer unions and consumers, thereby reducing the risk of spoilage. By making
from producing countries like France, Germany Italy, Poland and food production and its natural and seasonal limits more visible,
Spain opposed the revision, warning that it would become more it encourages customers to a sparing and responsible handling of
difcult for consumers to compare quality and prices across EU. food. Furthermore, losses caused by wholesale/retail, e.g. by means
Fears of price drops were articulated as well, particular clearly in of supply agreements forcing farmers towards overproduction or
France. German retailers like Aldi and Kaisers also advocated the rejecting products that do not meet the standards, are avoided.
maintaining of the status quo. In contrast, British producers and Among the many types of direct marketing systems, the most
retailers favoured the revoking of the standards (Milzow, 2009). known are: Farm shops and farmers markets, delivery of vegetable
The different positions of British and other European farmers asso- boxes by subscription, mail-orders, producer co-operatives, soli-
ciations can be partly attributed to structural differences within the darity purchasing groups and Community Supported Agriculture
162 C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

(CSA). The different models are more or less popular in individual tax revenue. Other experts, especially from environmental groups,
countries. Vecchio (2009) found that CSA has gained increas- suggest the imposing of different VAT-rates according to the envi-
ing importance in the American food system, while solidarity ronmental impacts of food items. High tax rates e.g. on meat, dairy
purchasing groups (association of consumers who buy directly products and convenience food could be compensated by reduced
from selected producers) ourish in Italy. In Spain producer co- tax rates on less environmentally damaging products such as fruit
operatives have been successful, while in Germany the concept of and vegetables.
subscribed vegetable boxes is quite widespread. Despite the sharp A third group of experts (inter alia Stuart, 2009) highlights that
growth of direct marketing approaches in recent years throughout not the consumption of food should be taxed but rather its wastage.
Europe, they still represent only a small part of the food system In different European countries Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) schemes
(Vecchio, 2009; Brown and Miller, 2008). are already in place in form of fees according to the weight of
Whether direct marketing can be more than a niche for con- municipal waste, the volume of the waste bin or the frequency of
sumers with high environmental and food quality awareness in the its emptying. Countries using PAYT schemes have mostly a bet-
future remains to be seen. With regard to an efcient use of food, ter waste management performance, in terms of decreasing waste
this concept can bring advantages and should be stimulated (sim- generation and increasing recycling, than countries where waste
ilar Stuart, 2009; Gustavsson et al., 2011). On the other hand, due collection fees are based on the property value, the number of
to seasonal restraints, direct marketing systems can never replace square metres of housing, the household size or similar indicators
the weekly supermarket for most people (Trobe, 2001). Another (Watkins et al., 2012; EEA, 2013). Dahln and Lagerkvist (2010)
limitation is that there is little empiric research on the impacts showed that Swedish municipalities with pay-by-weight schemes
of direct marketing on food waste generation. Although there was collected 20% less household waste per capita than other commu-
a positive reaction towards direct marketing among the partici- nities, with no signicant difference in the amount of separated
pants of the stakeholder workshop, the uncertainty about effects recyclables per capita. Following the Korean example,2 an obliga-
on food waste generation was a main concern. Some concepts like tion to households for the separate collection of food waste and a
subscribed vegetable boxes might produce even more food waste payment according to its weight should be introduced. The level of
than normal supermarket purchasing due to the risk that the con- the fee must be high enough to encourage reection by households
sumer is supplied with food items he does not like or does not on their waste behaviour. At the same time, there are arguments
know how to prepare. Further research is needed to assess those for not setting charges such high that they offer an incentive for
impacts. In addition, potential losses in employment due to circum- illegal dumping or burning of waste (Watkins et al., 2012). Experts
vention of retail were an argument against direct marketing within also emphasise that local conditions and attitudes are of critical
the discussion. By the participants of the workshop, the opening of importance for the success of such schemes and that an effect seen
alternative marketing channels was voted into rst place of the in one town will not necessarily be seen in another (Dahln and
most promising mitigation measures, followed with some distance Lagerkvist, 2010).
by an improvement of the underlying data sources and monitor-
ing, awareness campaigns, price reductions for products near to the
best-before date as well as educational programmes for employees 3.10. Taxes and fees on waste treatment
on the proper handling of food. Against more rigorous approaches
like the abolishment of subsidies on food, or amendments to EU Economic instruments are also discussed to stimulate food
regulations on food safety and economic incentives (see the fol- waste prevention in commercial enterprises. One example are taxes
lowing paragraphs) the participants of the workshop were rather and fees on waste treatment which can be seen as economic incen-
reluctant. tives as they escalate the total costs of waste handling, increasing
the nancial benets of waste reduction (Marthinsen et al., 2012;
3.9. Economic incentives to promote sustainable consumption Watkins et al., 2012). Although landll or incineration taxes are
introduced primarily with the intention to move waste manage-
There is broad agreement that the undervaluing of food arises ment away from landll towards recovery and recycling, they
from its low market value. The world market prices for food con- might also help cutting down on food waste.
stantly decreased over the last century and only slightly increased In 18 European Member States (or regions within Member
again in the rst decade of the new century. Furthermore, the States) taxes on waste sent to landlls are in place. The majority
wastage of food tends to augment with rising prosperity. Both fac- of countries have a tax level exceeding D 30 per tonne of waste and
tors contribute to a careless handling of food (Stuart, 2009; Monier some countries are increasing the rate, so that it reaches or will soon
et al., 2010; Partt et al., 2010; Grethe et al., 2011). While an average reach a level between D 50 and D 70 per tonne of waste (EEA, 2013).
household at the beginning of the 20th century had to spend more A study carried out by the Bio Intelligence Service regarding the use
than half of its disposable income for food, the share is now between of economic instruments and waste management performances in
less than 10% and up to 20% across EU-28 (Gerstberger and Yaneva, EU-27 (Watkins et al., 2012), suggests that there is a clear rela-
2013). Against this background, many experts consider economic tionship between the total costs of landlling and the percentage
instruments as particularly suitable to recuperate the social esteem of municipal waste recycled and composted: the higher the total
of food. costs of landlling are, the more municipal waste is pushed up the
The Swiss WWF advocates the abolishment of all subsidies for waste hierarchy towards recycling and composting. Whether this
food and the introduction of cost-covering prices (WWF, 2012).
A thorough review of tax regulations, mainly of the Value Added
Tax (VAT) Regulation in all EU Member States is seen as necessary 2
The Korean government has imposed an obligation to households and business
in order to remove all incentives that may encourage the gener- to separate food waste and collect it into specially labelled bags that are available for
ation of food waste (Marthinsen et al., 2012). Some experts like purchase. SK Telecom, Koreas largest wireless carrier, has designed food waste bins
the German Scientic Committee on Agricultural Policy (Bauhus equipped with devices that weigh the waste. Using radio frequency identication
et al., 2012) advocate for the elimination of the reduced VAT-rate on (RFID) technology, the bins calculate the disposal fee based on the exact weight,
which will then be debited from the users public transportation card or processed
food, representing an indirect subsidisation. Any social hardships for payment on a linked credit card. So, the more one wastes the more he pays.
caused by tax harmonisation should be offset by targeted govern- Anyone who fails to separate his waste and discards food scraps with the municipal
mental income support, which could be nanced from additional garbage risks a ne (Stuart, 2009).
C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165 163

instrument is likely to reach the top of the waste hierarchy, i.e. that can forecast the demand based on historical consumption data,
prevention of waste, depends on its conguration. weather conditions and other key parameters are considered to be
When using taxes on waste treatment as a tool to prevent food important. High relevance is nally attributed to the collection and
waste, certain requirements have to be met: Firstly, a mandatory documentation of food waste data, which can help to identify the
separate collection of food waste, both in households and in com- changes in food waste composition and to detect the most vul-
mercial enterprises (mainly in the retail and hospitality sector) nerable points in each restaurant. It was further recommended to
should be introduced; the latter is currently stipulated only in integrate food waste prevention issues into certication standards
Ireland. Secondly, the tax rate must be high enough to create a and eco-labels that are applied in the hospitality sector (Marthinsen
sufciently strong incentive for waste minimisation as well as for et al., 2012).
the donation of surplus food to charities. However, high taxes can
equally generate an additional stimulus for illegal dumping, so reg- 3.12. Promotion of food redistribution programmes
ulatory measures need to be developed in parallel (Watkins et al.,
2012). Even if all possibilities to combat food waste would be exploited,
Several European countries provide nancial support for the a certain amount of surplus food would still persist. Food redis-
production of energy from waste. It may lead to conicting incen- tribution programmes are a proven tool for the efcient use of
tives, if national legislators on the one hand would impose high this surplus to the benet of economically deprived people. Char-
taxes for the treatment of food waste and on the other hand sub- itable institutions like FareShare in the UK, Fondazione Banco
sidise the production of energy from waste. Thus, the existing Alimentare in Italy or Die Tafeln in Germany and Switzerland
regulations to promote the use of renewable energies from biogenic collect food, voluntarily given away by producers, processors,
waste in Europe should be reviewed in order to identify incentives retailers or food service operators that would otherwise be dis-
that run counter to the objective of food waste prevention. carded, and redistribute it to the needy. Several European countries
(e.g. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
3.11. Combating food waste in the hospitality sector Norway, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom) have successfully
implemented food redistribution programmes.
For restaurants and other food service providers the amount of The main barriers to food redistribution are related to economic,
food waste is determined to a considerable extent by the portion infrastructural and legal constraints. Especially in rural areas the
sizes they offer. Thus, the adaption of portion sizes to costumers network of food rescue organisations often is not tight enough
real needs would be a simple, but effective approach to reduce to organise the transport of surplus food from the point of ori-
food waste in the hospitality sector (Marthinsen et al., 2012; gin to the food bank in an economically feasible way (Lebersorger
Silvennoinen et al., 2012). A la carte-restaurants should offer a and Schneider, 2014). Donors of surplus food as well as charity
choice of portion sizes to graded prices. To further rene this organisations that redistribute it may be concerned about the legal
approach, restaurants could examine how much and what types consequences in case that somebody will be harmed by a defec-
of food tend to be left over on customers plates and modify tive product. To remove the legal obstacles, in 1996 the United
their dishes according to the insights gained by this examination States enacted the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act which lim-
(EPA, 2010; Lipinski et al., 2013). In buffet style-restaurants cus- its the liability of donors. The law protects food donors from civil
tomers serve themselves, thereby determining the size of their and criminal liability in the case that the product they gave in good
meal. Nevertheless, food service operators have means to inuence faith to a charitable organisation should harm a recipient. In addi-
consumers behaviour. tion to granting legal protection to donors, the law may also be seen
One option is to post information signs reminding customers to as an endorsement of redistribution activities (Morenoff, 2002; Van
take only as much food as they can eat. Another option is to replace Zuiden, 2012; Lipinski et al., 2013). With the exception of Italy, in
dinner trays by portion size plates.3 Under this system customers Europe there is no similar regulation up to now.
can return to the buffet to take more, but are limited at each trip Whether the European food law mandatory requires an amend-
to the amount of food they can carry on a plate. A third option is ment in line with the Good Samaritan Act is controversial. Some
to remove all you can eat-buffets and replace them by pay by argue that the provisions of the European food law, especially those
weight-systems. This approach would give the costumer an eco- about food safety and food hygiene, also apply to the transfer of food
nomic incentive not to take more than necessary. The strategy to to charitable institutions (e.g. BMELV, 2012). Following this legal
educate consumers by setting economic incentives is followed by interpretation, social organisations passing food to needy persons
some restaurants in London. Stuart (2009) reports that guests of the act as a food business operator who is responsible for the safety and
Nigerian restaurant Obalenda Suya Express have to donate 2.50 traceability of food (General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002)
to Oxfam if they dont nish their meals. The examples indicate that and has to adhere to the hygiene rules imposed by Regulation (EC)
there are different ways to adapt portion sizes to consumers real 852/2004. Planchenstainer (2013) in contrast, doubts that charity
needs. Restaurants and other food service providers should have organisations collecting surplus food have in fact to be seen as food
the opportunity to test different options for a certain period of time. business operators. He points out that the European food law grants
If it turns out that they do not use any of the available approaches some exibility, enabling a preferential treatment of such organi-
voluntarily, national legislators should consider the introduction of sations by the national authorities. So, Regulation (EC) No 852/2004
a statutory obligation to do so. provides for certain exceptions. The provisions should not apply to
Besides the adaption of portion sizes to consumers real needs, the preparation, handling and storage of food for private domestic
different surveys agree that training of staff as well as an improve- consumption. Furthermore, they should only apply to undertakings
ment of the internal routines for purchasing, storing and freezing which imply a certain continuity of activities and a certain degree of
is crucial for reducing food waste in the hospitality sector. Also a organisation. In the view of Planchenstainer food banks and char-
careful menu planning by using, whenever possible, advanced tools ity organisations could be assigned to one or the other of these
categories, enjoying the same status and facing less burdensome
requirements.
3
A pilot study at cafeterias of US-American universities suggests that by operating
Nevertheless, he pleads for the introduction of a provision anal-
tray-less buffets, the emergence of food waste could be reduced by 2530% (Lipinski ogous to the Good Samaritan Act, mainly because without any
et al., 2013). modication of the European food law, donors may be discouraged
164 C. Priefer et al. / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 109 (2016) 155165

to give their surplus food to charity organisations. Under the appli- exclusively designed on food waste reduction also a change of social
cable law, they may be driven to discard non-marketable goods in framework conditions can help to meet the objective. This includes
order to avoid liability (similar BIOIS, 2011; Lipinski et al., 2013). an improved compatibility of career and family, marketing systems
Thus, it should be considered to introduce a common European which establish a closer link between producers and consumers,
provision for the liability of donors and charity organisations that and a change of dietary patterns. Although a reduced consumption
redistribute food. This could be implemented by amending Regu- of meat products would not scale down the total amount of food
lation (EC) 178/2002. waste, it would considerably decrease the environmental impacts
of food production.

4. Conclusions
Acknowledgements
A glance at the current practice in Europe shows that most of the
This article is based on a project funded by the Science and
prevention measures implemented by governments up to now are
Technology Options Assessment Board (STOA) of the European
soft instruments like awareness campaigns, round tables, networks
Parliament (IP/A/STOA/FWC/2008-096/LOT7/C1/SC2).
and information platforms. As the British example mentioned
above proves, it is undeniable that the exchange of information can
contribute considerably to the reduction of food waste (see Section References
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