Manufacturers back tough EU measures to halve food waste by 2025
Food manufacturers have welcomed EU proposals to deliver a coordinated strategy to halve the amount of food waste by 2025.
The European Parliament has asked the Commission and member states to draw up plans to tackle the problem. Nearly 50% of edible and healthy food is wasted every year in the EU by households, supermarkets, restaurants and the distribution chain.
Food waste currently amounts to around 89 million tonnes a year and could climb to 126 million tonnes in 2020 if no action is taken, according to a report by the European Parliament.
The study proposes a number of measures including shifting more responsibility onto retailers to not sell food too close to its expiry date as this increases the potential for wastage. Also to employ dual-date labelling on packaging to show both sell-by dates and use-by dates.
Food producers should also offer a range of packaging sizes that are designed to conserve food more effectively, the report states. To encourage greater sustainability within the food sector, MPs are also calling for 2014 to be declared 'European year against food waste'.
The food manufacturers association FoodDrinkEurope has backed the recommendations and welcomes acknowledgement of the role that packaging can play in preventing food waste and the need for clarification on date labels to help raise consumer awareness.
However, in order to compare data and design harmonised food waste policy measures across member states, the association says there is an urgent need to improve consistency of reporting on the figures and waste categories used by each state.
The report makes reference to manufacturers' efforts to minimise waste. For example, practices have been put in place to avoid waste and optimise use of raw materials by recovering parts that do not go into the finished food product, such as by-products like coffee grounds to produce renewable energy or beet pulp to provide sound animal feed.