Axe 2 - Towards biodiversity-positive production and consumption

Surplus food

By 2030, 435 000 tons/y of surplus food is either consumed, recovered or redistributed

Food waste is a major problem in our current society and also negatively affects biodiversity due to the inefficient use of land and resources. It occurs throughout the whole chain – retailers, distribution services, horeca sector, end-consumers etc. Maximizing the use of these goods once produced and in the supply chain enables to reduce the impact on primary resources and biodiversity.

Surplus food is the parts of food which are still fit for human consumption but are nevertheless discarded. This is a waste of money, resources and is source of pollution. Reducing the amount of wasted food will benefit biodiversity and all citizens. And it is easily done through food recovery and redistribution within the supply chain. But the consumers can also change their consumption patterns to eliminate and reduce a maximum their food waste and thus contribute in their daily life to the fight against biodiversity loss.

Food recovery: to receive, with or without payment, food (processed, semi-processed or raw) which would otherwise be discarded or wasted from the agricultural, livestock and fisheries supply chains of the food system.

Food redistribution: to store or process and then distribute the received food pursuant to appropriate safety, quality and regulatory frameworks directly or through intermediaries, and with or without payment, to those having access to it for food intake.

What is to be achieved?

  • Sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources
  • Reducing detrimental impacts on biodiversity and natural resources of food sector from production to end-consumption stage
  • Revalorisation of surplus food
  • Reduction of food waste
  • Promotion of non-wasteful patterns

Criteria to be reflected by the voluntary engagements:

  • Improve the efficiency of resources used in the production stage to avoid waste (e.g. collect all food products regardless of size or appearance, only produce the necessary quantity, ...)
  • Stimulate consumption/recovery/redistribution of surplus food for human consumption: Use surplus food for human consumption and avoid discarding it or using it as compost
  • Support food donation and recovery and/or stimulate the consumption of surplus food (e.g. redistribute surplus food to institutions, offer doggy-bags to customers who did not finish their food...)
  • Develop/enhance conditions enabling to ensure food donation/recovery/consumption in safe conditions (e.g. discounts on products where the “Best before date” is approaching, discounts on products with altered packaging/labelling, ...)

Model Projects "Surplus food"

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