What is food waste?
It is estimated that around 88 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the EU, with countries like Belgium wasting approximately 3.6 tons of food annually. These figures add to the colossal amounts of food lost and wasted along the supply chain (e.g. during the harvesting and production stages).
Food waste is defined by FUSIONS as ” any food, and inedible parts of food, removed from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed (including composted, crops ploughed in/not harvested, anaerobic digestion, bio-energy production, co-generation, incineration, disposal to sewer, landfill or discarded to sea)”. Food waste constitutes a dire environmental issue, being also accountable for 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans.
Why food redistribution?
Undoubtedly, the best way of avoiding, or at least reducing, food waste is to implement preventive measures with regard to the EU’s Waste Policy. These measures range from the primary production level, shortening the food supply chain, to the consumer level, buying responsively. With regard to retail and shops food waste, food redistribution is seen as one of the most effective solutions, in last resort cases when food waste prevention is impossible or unsuccessful.
What’s more, food redistribution appears an effective solution to contribute to food insecurity mitigation in the EU, where it is estimated that 1 in 4 European suffers from at least one form of poverty and 43 million Europeans are not able to afford a quality meal every other day (Eurostat, 2018).
SAFE’S FOOD RESTRIBUTION ACTIONS
Since December 2021, SAFE has teamed up with Happy Hours Market, a Belgian start-up that fights food waste by offering consumers unsold food from supermarkets at a reduced price. The remaining food is then redistributed to charities in order to further halt food waste and help out those in needs. Happy Hours Market currently delivers to 8 charities located across Namur and Brussels, with food deliveries benefiting disadvantaged groups of pensioners, children or college students.
The goal of this partnership is to better combat food waste while maximising the social impact of the campaign. This will be through an active follow-up of Happy Hour Market’s deliveries with organisations, while striving to expand the charity network through a joint communication strategy.
To find out more about SAFE’s past campaigns on Food Waste under the LIFE Programme, click here.
For more information on SAFE’s actions on food donation rules and food waste reduction targets, head over to our EU Waste Policy page.