On 31 March 2016, the FUSIONS project (Food Use Social Innovation by Optimising waste prevention Strategies) presented the latest figures on food waste in Europe. These reveal that 88 million tonnes of food is wasted each year in the 28 EU member states, valued at 143 billion euros. This is equivalent to 20 per cent of total annual food production. Households are responsible for 47 million tonnes of waste.
Increasingly Reliable Figures
FUSIONS was established as part of the FP7 programme in order to help European countries reduce food waste through more efficient use of raw materials. Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research is responsible for coordinating the project.
This is the first time that the amount of food waste has been presented in a harmonised way, by taking the FUSIONS technical framework as a basis and by using a clear definition of food waste.
A great deal of uncertainty still surrounds the data. Merely a quarter of the figures in the total overview matrix of all EU member states and the links between primary producer and consumer can be regarded as reliable and representative. Around half is comprised of figures of limited quality, and there is no available data at all for the remaining quarter. In particular, reliable data on the primary sector and the processing industry are scarce.
More EU member states will have to start measuring their food waste in a structural and robust manner to precisely determine the levels of food waste in the years ahead. In order to streamline the research process and offer support to member states in this regard, FUSIONS has developed a ‘Quantification Manual’ containing an analytical framework, a definition of food waste, sampling procedures, guidelines for measuring methods and examples of these methods.