First Flemish annual report on food waste proposes actions

Summary

The all-sector group brought together by the government of Flanders to reduce food waste on both an industrial and consumer scale has produced its first annual report

30% by 2025

The first annual report on efforts to reduce food waste in Flanders has been delivered to parliament by the all-sector group brought together to work out the measures required to cut waste by 30% over the next decade. The report lists a wide range of projects now being implemented or planned for the near future.

In 2014, the government brought together a number of organisations, including the farmers’ union Boerenbond, consumer organisation OIVO and the sector federations Horeca Vlaanderen (food service) and Fevia (food industry), to work to reduce food waste. The group produced a Food Waste Roadmap consisting of nine programmes and 57 actions to reduce waste throughout the food chain, from initial producer to final consumer.

The roadmap also contained the target of a 15% reduction in waste by 2020, and by 30% by 2025. Among the actions already under way is the development of technology for high-efficiency drying of waste, which prevents rotting and allows the waste to be turned into a value product, such as feed for animals or biomass. Flanders’ Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research is working on the technology.

A group of logistics experts visited 117 small businesses between April and October last year, including those in the food sector and in agriculture, to give them advice on achieving better efficiency in logistics to cut waste. One idea, for example, is to make sure that food is not transported in unsuitable conditions.

The group is also looking into the possibilities of turning unsold fruit and vegetables over to social aid organisations. Supermarkets and other sales outlets need to be more effectively brought together with those who can use the leftover food, the report said. One possibility is to use the leftovers to make soup or prepared meals, perhaps even before being distributed to charities, as delay creates waste.

Photo courtesy Vlaco