May 2024

Prevent Waste Coalition – Policy Brief on the feasibility of ambitious legally binding EU food waste reduction targets

An estimated 40% of food is wasted globally1, which causes an estimated 8–10% of global emissions2, and uses an estimated 28% of the world’s agricultural land area, larger than China and India combined.

65 organisations from 20 EU countries have signed a statement calling for the EU to introduce legally-binding targets to reduce EU food loss and waste by 50% from farm to fork by 2030. This briefing provides evidence that ambitious legally-binding food waste reduction targets for EU Member States under the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) are both feasible and will result in significant cost savings. Whilst we advocate for 50% reductions in food loss and waste from farm to fork, recognising the context of compromises in the current negotiations, we make the following recommendations:

• Manufacturing and processing: We recommend that targets for manufacturing and processing sector food waste should be set at the same level as for later stages in the supply chain – ideally 40%, but at least 25%. It is unfair and inconsistent to set lower targets for the manufacturing and processing sectors. We present evidence that the UK has achieved over 25% reductions in manufacturing food waste over 10 years, and numerous large manufacturers have achieved rates of food waste reduction in line with 30%, 40%, and even 50% reductions by 2030.
• Households, retail, restaurants, and food services: We commend the European Parliament’s proposal for 40% reductions in per capita food waste in households, retail, restaurants, and food services, and recommend that the Council and Commission back at least this level of ambition. We present evidence that food waste reductions of at least this speed are feasible.

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