Many steps must still be taken to achieve the Dutch ambition of halving food losses and waste by 2030. In some occasions, policy and regulations are creating a barrier to do so. When possible and safe, changing those regulations is key for allowing entrepreneurs to advance their efforts to limit waste and to optimally valorise waste streams. Wageningen University & Research conducted research into the feasibility and impact of possible measures in a broad, open consultation with relevant stakeholders and ministries. On the basis of those results, the Stichting Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling (Food Waste Free United) selected the top 10 priority measures.
After a thorough literature research by Wageningen University & Research, a broad consultation was held with stakeholders of the Dutch food system and an assessment was conducted by experts. Arguments for prioritisation were outlined to determine the measures with substantial impact and high feasibility. On this basis, STV selected 10 priority measures for changing the rules. Minister Schouten highlighted this top 10 in her recent letter on food waste to the House of Representatives. STV and WUR are calling the political establishment, government, and businesses to change these rules together. A circular food system in which all raw materials are used as effectively as possible will then become the only logical choice.
The aim of the WUR initiative is to identify, advise on, and remove obstacles and barriers to the prevention of food waste. The short-term goal is to identify and advise on the removal of these obstacles and barriers at selected hotspots in legislation, regulations and trading practices.
In addition to the fact sheet with the 10 priority measures for changing policy and regulations by STV, WUR has published an extensive report on this topic. This report reflects the process that has been under way since spring 2019 with a view to drawing up a top 10 of priority measures to guide the activities of the Stichting Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling (STV) of which WUR is a part. STV activities are of direct relevance to the National Strategy for preventing food waste from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
Collaboration with the Minister
It is estimated that two million metric tonnes of food are wasted in the Netherlands every year. This happens at many points in the food supply chain, from the farm to fork and all the links (transport, auction, food production industry, retail, food services) in between. Consumers discard an average of 34.3 kg of food per person on annual basis. Wasting less food contributes to achieving the climate change targets and contributes to sufficient good and healthy food for a growing world population. Combatting food waste is a priority of the current Dutch cabinet. To this end, the Minister works closely with Wageningen University & Research.