Working Paper, Institute for International Political Economy Berlin 59/2015
One third of the entire food produced for our consumption is either lost or wasted at some point of the food supply chain. The problem of food waste does not only intensify the elementary problem of food insecurity in wasting precious nourishment - originally intended to be consumed - connected with its economic value, but the processing and disposal of food also wastes scarce resources such as water, agricultural land and energy, as well as increasing CO2 emissions. Recent studies identify consumers as the single largest drivers of food waste and praise education and raising awareness amongst them as most promising in limiting domestic food waste. Next to consumers, wasteful practices of the food industry are a predominant driver of food waste in developed countries so that the role of retailers in the generation of food waste across the food supply chain is investigated and policy recommendations with respect to its reduction assessed. Examining the influence of retailers on food date labels and quality standards, proves that food retailers endow immense power to drive food waste across the food supply chain. Keeping this retail power in mind, policy recommendations for reducing domestic food waste and cause-oriented policy recommendations aimed at reducing food waste due to date labelling and quality standards are assessed according to their efficiency.
food waste food date labelling food quality standards retail food waste retail power on food supply chains European Year against Food Waste European food system EU policy response to food waste