Tools to Tackle Consumer Food Waste from the European Consumer Food Waste Forum

More than half of all food waste in Europe is caused by households*. This is mainly leftovers or wasted food due to inadequate meal planning or improper storage. In June 2024, Nora Brüggemann and Rosalyn Old from CSCP attended the “Let’s reduce consumer food waste!” conference at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, to share insights from our work on food waste and learn what others across Europe have been testing.

The event brought together experts and practitioners from across Europe to get to the heart of what really works when it comes to reducing food waste and how we go from learning to more action.

Key highlights from the conference include:

  • A behavioural approach is key: using theoretical models and breaking behaviours down into smaller steps, considering opportunities and abilities as well as motivation is crucial to taking initiatives beyond awareness raising to impactful change.
  • In a plenary panel discussion on the need for leadership in driving food waste prevention actions, the importance of collaboration between different actors was emphasised. Nora Brüggemann shared the example of the German Voluntary Agreement between retailers as a great example of how a sector can take responsibility in tackling food waste in a holistic way. The agreement was reached as part of the Dialogue Forum, moderated by the CSCP. As part of this collaboration, the involved actors committed to a 50% reduction of food waste in their own operations by 2030, further reduction measures at the interfaces with their suppliers, and action to support their clients (private households) in preventing food waste themselves.
  • A lunch time exhibition shared practical details on a number of initiatives in schools, hotels and other settings, including our apprenticeship training conducted together with the German retailer, PENNY. This and many more can be found in the compendium of tools, best practices and recommendations by the European Consumer Food Waste Forum
  • In the session on designing, monitoring and evaluating consumer food waste prevention interventions, Rosalyn Old presented the benefits of the Academy of Change behavioural design approach through examples from the CHORIZO project and the value of co-creation with consumers in the CARE project. Discussions with the group raised the close links between design and evaluation, the importance of working with social norms, and the need for a systems approach.
  • Discussing the role of cities and regions, topic experts shared different approaches that municipalities can take to tackle consumer food waste and the importance of working together with actors in different fields to reach a diversity of citizens.

More information about this event of the European Consumer Food Waste Forum, organised jointly by EU Science, Research and Innovation and EU Health and Food Safety, here.

To engage with us on the topic of food waste reduction, please reach out to Nora Brüggemann.

*Eurostat 2023

Photo © EU DG SANTE Food Waste Team