Results of EU food waste survey – 2024 edition

14th May 24 by Martin Bowman

The Prevent Waste Coalition has surveyed EU member states for their views on binding food waste targets

An estimated 40% of food is wasted globally, which causes an estimated 8–10% of global emissions, and uses an estimated 28% of the world’s agricultural land area, larger than China and India combined. In 2021, the EU wasted at least 58.4 million tonnes of food – with even more currently going unmeasured at primary production level. Food waste costs EU businesses and households an estimated €143bn a year. Yet left to voluntary measures, EU progress to reduce food waste has been slow.

Now, the EU faces a historic opportunity. The Council of the European Union is currently in the process of negotiating proposals for legally binding EU targets to reduce food waste – a historic move. However, everything is still at stake: targets may be set too low, and whole parts of the supply chain like farms might be excluded. The European Commission’s proposal is for household/retail/restaurant/food service food waste to be reduced by 30% by 2030, for manufacturing/processing food waste to be reduced by only 10% by 2030, and for no targets to be set for primary production at all. The European Parliament has backed more ambitious targets – 40% for household/retail/restaurant/food service and 20% for manufacturing/processing – but the Council currently seems to be on track to back less ambitious targets.

Luckily, a movement is building around Europe for ambitious action on food waste. 65 organisations ranging from NGOs to businesses and research institutions have signed a joint-statement calling on the EU to set legally binding targets to reduce food waste by 50% from farm to fork by 2030. But it will be vital to get policymakers from across Europe backing the fight for regulation to end food waste too. We’ve also created a policy briefing to explain how higher food waste targets are feasible.

That’s why the Prevent Waste Coalition – Feedback EU, European Environmental Bureau, Zero Waste Europe, Safe Food Advocacy Europe and Too Good To Go have collaborated to create a short survey asking EU member states for their views on EU legally binding food waste targets. We’ve also created a policy briefing to explain how higher food waste targets are feasible. As we show in our briefing, already featured by the EU media outlets Politico and Euractiv recently, there is just no excuse for low ambition. On the contrary, there is much to gain – not only for the environment and consumers, but also food businesses themselves. We targeted the Ministries for the Environment and Agriculture for each country, via email – and received responses between April – May 2024. The results are presented below.

The support of these Ministries will be essential for achieving an agreement on (more) ambitious targets, through member state representatives (and ultimately the national ministers) at the Council of the European Union. If you would like to raise pressure on your country’s government to back ambitious EU food waste targets, please contact maximilian@feedbackglobal.org for more info and support. If you’re an EU-based organisation who’d like to support our joint-statement, please sign up here.

Map of EU member state positions

Click here to see the full league table


  • For each of the following sectors – 1) households, 2) retail/restaurants/food service, 3) processing/manufacturing, support for different % reduction targets has been allocated the following scores:
    • 40-50% = +2 points
    • 30%* = +1 point
    • Unsure/won’t say  = 0 points
    • Lower than 30%* = -1 points
    • Opposes binding targets = -2 points
    • *For manufacturing, +1 point for 20-30% and -1 point for lower than 20% – as ambition for these targets has generally been lower
  • For primary production, the following scores have been allocated:
    • Supports measurement and/or targets = +1 points
    • Unsure/won’t say (or if supports measures but opposes targets or vice versa) = 0 points
    • Opposes measurement and/or targets = -1 points
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