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Food Safety

Food Waste

European Consumer Food Waste Forum event - 5 June 2024
  • Are you a practitioner who plans and implements food waste reduction actions?
  • Are you a policymaker who works to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level?
  • Are you a food business or an organisation that wants to prevent food waste at consumer level?

Then this public event is for you.

The agenda and registration link can be found on the event webpage.

About Food Waste

In the EU, over 58 million tonnes of food waste (131 kg/inhabitant) are generated annually (Eurostat, 2023), with an associated market value estimated at 132 billion euros (SWD (2023)421).

Eurostat roughly estimates that around 10% of food made available to EU consumers (at retail, food services and households) may be wasted. At the same time, over 37 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (Eurostat, 2023).

Globally, approximately a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted (FAO, 2011). FAO's Food Loss Index (FLI) estimates that globally, around 14 percent of all food produced is lost from the post-harvest stage up to, but excluding, the retail stage (FAO, 2019).

According to the UNEP Food Waste Index 2024, around 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste were generated in 2022 – 60% of which came from households, 28% from food services and 12% from retail. This amounts to one fifth (19 per cent) of food available to consumers being wasted, at the retail, food service and household level. The equivalent of at least one billion meals of edible food is being wasted in households worldwide every single day (UNEP, 2024). Similarly, in the EU, households generate more than half of the total food waste (54%) in the EU with 70% of food waste arising at household, food service and retail (Eurostat, 2023). Wasting food is not only an ethical and economic issue but it also depletes the environment of limited natural resources. The EU is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030 and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains. By reducing food losses and waste to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals, we can also:

  • support the fight against climate change (Food waste has a huge environmental impact, accounting for about 16% of the total Greenhouse Gas emissions from the EU food system)
  • save nutritious food for redistribution to those in need, helping to eradicate hunger and malnutrition
  • save money for farmers, companies and households

The central goal of EU food safety policy is to protect both human and animal health. We cannot compromise on these standards but, in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders, are looking for every opportunity to prevent food waste and strengthen sustainability of the food system.

The Commission’s food waste webpages provide: