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Retailers press for smart policy to help tackling food waste

03 May 2017
by EuroCommerce -- last modified 03 May 2017

Speaking at a debate today organised by MEP Angelique Delahaye (FR, EPP) ahead of the European Parliament vote on more ambitious action on food waste, Lettemieke Mulder, Director Sustainability & Product Policy at EuroCommerce, said:


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"Wholesome food going to waste is a scandal, both environmentally and socially, and what's more, it makes no economic sense. There is no silver bullet to solve these problems at a stroke. We need a package of smart, complementary measures, both legislative and voluntary, to incentivise positive action. One good example is the Italian law adopted last year, which simplifies the food donation process, and allows municipalities to reduce waste taxes."

A recent report The business case for reducing food loss and waste, issued by the World Resources Institute on behalf of the Champions 12.3 Coalition, shows that for every euro invested in food loss and waste reduction, the median return realised was 14 euros. There is a robust business case for Member States, cities and companies to reduce food losses and food waste.

Retailers and wholesalers already contribute in many ways to helping reduce food waste and losses, reflected in the EuroCommerce report, Rising to the Food Waste Challenge published earlier this year. The initiatives illustrated there include:

  • reducing waste in their own stores by improving inventory management;
  • working with farmers and suppliers to better match production with retail demand;
  • encouraging consumers to make the most of the food they buy in simple ways, such as explaining the difference between "use by" and "best before" dates, and suggesting recipes for using up leftovers;
  • processing unattractive but nutritious fruit and vegetables into salads or soups;
  • working with food banks and charities to donate food that is not sold.

Retailers and wholesalers are therefore encouraged by the European Parliament's own-initiative report drafted by MEP Biljana Borzan (HR, S&D) which will be voted on at the European Parliament's plenary in mid-May. The report calls for a coordinated policy response at EU and Member State level, and rightly stresses the need for smart European and national policies and regulation which allow market players to come up with innovative solutions to tackling food waste.

EuroCommerce is the voice for six million retail, wholesale, and other trading companies.

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