Reducing Consumer Food Waste: Compendium Presented at the European Parliament

The European Commission has proposed legally-binding targets for EU Member States to reduce the generation of food waste per capita, jointly in retail and other distribution of food, in restaurants and food services and in households, by 30 % in comparison to the amount generated in 2020. To help meet such targets, the European Consumer Food Waste Forum (ECFWF) has released a compendium on the topic. The document, which is a ‘how-to guide’, focuses on interventions that can help address the consumption hotspot of food waste generation.

Food waste is a pressing issue with significant environmental, social, and economic consequences. Rightly, the topic is high on the European agenda: the European Commission proposed on 5 July 2023 to set legally-binding food waste reduction targets to be achieved by the Member States by 2030 as part of the revision of the Waste Framework Directive.

Against this backdrop, the ECWF experts – including CSCP Senior Manager and food waste reduction expert Nora Brüggemann – have released the publication “Tools, best practices and recommendations to reduce consumer food waste – A compendium”. The compendium was presented at the European European Parliament in Brussels in June 2023.

The publication as well as the work of the ECFWF in general is a direct contribution to the European Commission’s objective to not only to lay down clear obligations for Member States on food waste reduction but also to support them in taking effective action. A specific focus lays on the consumption stage, where most food waste occurs.

Based on evidence gathered by the forum, the compendium identifies and describes three priority actions to maximise impact of food waste reduction:

  • Better identify the target consumer group, that is, individuals who are wasting the most and who are most in need of interventions and/or more receptive to change
  • Improve the design of interventions to reduce consumer food waste based on evidence and make monitoring and evaluation the norm
  • Integrate insights from behavioural science in interventions, including the use of nudges to change behaviours in the long term

For practitioners, the document presents six generic types of interventions which can be used to implement effective interventions: prompts and tools for households, coaching for households, local awareness campaigns, education programmes, nudges out-of-home, and national food waste prevention programmes.

Drawing on a two-year work, the European Consumer Food Waste Forum emphasised the importance of taking a systemic approach that considers the key drivers and levers of change when targeting food waste reduction at the consumer level and encourages collaboration and concrete actions to address food waste and promote the establishment of sustainable food systems. The CSCP will continue contributing to this specific aspect of food waste reduction particularly through our CHORIZO project, which focuses on changing social norms in favour of less food waste.

For further information, please contact Nora Brüggemann.