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Preventing food loss and food waste

Hear about food loss and food waste from an industry expert.
The difference between food loss and food waste relate to where they occur in the food supply chain. So food loss occurs at the first part of the food chain, so between the producer and the marketplace. Food waste occurs at the level of the retailer or of the consumers.
Transport is critical in terms of the amount of food that gets damaged and therefore lost. If a food needs to be transported long distances, by definition it’s more likely to get damaged. In the case of soft fruit and vegetables, it’s mostly really the packaging and the transport where most of the loss occurs. For cereals, most of the losses will be really in pre-harvest. For example, if the grain is harvested at too high moisture, it can present problems then of preservation during storage. There is a lot that can be done to improve knowledge among farmers or other people involved in the first part of the supply chain so that they can better, for example, time harvesting or implement the storage conditions.
The EIT Food Circular Food Generator Track was a project sponsored by EIT Food. And it was carried out in collaboration with three industry partners, among which, also, a very, very big Belgium retailer. The project was set up as a food challenge and carried out, really, in the form of a competition between the University of Reading, University of Leuven, and the University of Hohenheim. The students were asked to provide new and innovative solutions to reintroduce in the food chain one-day-old bread, ripe bananas, and potatoes approaching the best before date.
The new generation of farmers should have the knowledge that allow them to choose crops that perform at their best in their environment where they’re grown. And therefore, they should be able to mitigate as much as possible, reduce as much as possible food losses. A better communication between producers and markets about, actually, how much is needed. Better infrastructure. Again if a food needs to be transported long distances, by definition it’s more likely to get damaged. So again, a shorter food chain will be beneficial. If we don’t tackle food loss or food waste, the consequences can be really dramatic. They already are. We know that we need to do something to protect our environment.
We really need to implement and increase, really as much as possible, all initiatives at every level of the food chain to make sure that food is produced in enough quantity for everybody all around the globe, and what is produced is used properly, it’s not wasted.

In this video, Dr. Paola Tosi, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Reading, explains the differences between food loss and food waste, and provides an overview of the initiatives and improvements to processes that could prevent this loss and waste, throughout the food supply chain.

Dr. Tosi warns about the dramatic consequences of not addressing wastage and loss of food, and the need for immediate action. In the comments area below, suggest any measures that you can think of, or that you currently take as a consumer, to prevent food waste.

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