European Commission launches the EU Platform on Food losses and Food Waste

EU Platform on Food losses and Food Waste

The Commission is publishing today the composition of the EU Platform on Food losses and Food Waste announced in the 2015 EU Action Plan for Circular Economy.

The Platform brings together 70 member organisations, both from the public and private sectors, in order to maximise the contribution of all actors and support achievement of Sustainable Development Goal #12.3: to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, as well as to reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains.

Following a call for applications for private sector organisations, the Commission has selected a total of 37 members from academia, NGOs and industry. Members were selected based on their experience in food waste prevention, capacity for stakeholder outreach and coverage of activities and interests in the food value chain.

It is estimated that, every year, around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU. Dedicated to food waste prevention, the Platform will support all players in: defining actions needed all along the food value chain; promoting inter-sectorial cooperation; sharing best practice; and evaluating progress made over time. Its first gathering is scheduled for 29 November in Brussels.

For more information on Food Waste see:

Stop food waste

Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU, with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016).

About a third of all food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted - around 1.3 billion tonnes per year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Food loss and waste in industrialised countries are as high as in developing countries, but their distribution is different:

  • In developing countries, over 40% of food losses happen after harvest and during processing;
  • In industrialised countries, over 40% occurs at retail and consumer level.

EC food vaste video


What can you do?

Everyone can play a role in reducing food waste. Often with minimal effort, food waste can be reduced, saving money and helping to protect the environment. It might be a lot easier than you think! Check our communications materials for practical information.

Causes of food waste

Food is lost or wasted along the whole food supply chain: on the farm, in processing and manufacture, in shops, in restaurants and canteens and in the home. The reasons for food waste vary widely and can be sector-specific.

Factors contributing to food waste include:

  • Insufficient shopping and meal planning and promotions like “buy one get one free” leading to too much food being purchased or prepared
  • Misunderstandings about the meaning of “best before” and “use by” date labels leading to edible foods being thrown away
  • Standardised portion sizes in restaurants and canteens
  • Difficulty in anticipating the number of customers (a problem for catering services);
  • Stock management issues for manufacturers and retailers
  • High quality standards (eg. for produce sold at retail)
  • Overproduction or lack of demand for certain products at certain times of the year; product and packaging damage(farmers and food manufacturing)
  • Inadequate storage/transport at all stages of the food chain

Underlying all these problems is an overall lack of awareness, by many actors, of the sheer scale of the problem and the benefits that come from reducing food waste.