Page 2 - 1.1 EN
P. 2

Unit: 1. Definition of food waste FoRWaRD

1. Food Waste definition

I. Food loss: refers to a decrease in mass (dry matter quantity) or nutritional value
(quality) of food that was originally intended for human consumption. These losses are
mainly caused by inefficiencies in the food supply chains, such as poor infrastructure
and logistics, lack of technology, insufficient skills, knowledge and management
capacity of supply chain actors and lack of access to markets. In addition, natural
disasters play a role.

II. Food waste: refers to food appropriate for human consumption being discarded,
whether or not after it is kept beyond its expiry date or left to spoil. Often this is
because food has spoiled but it can be for other reasons such as oversupply due to
markets, or individual consumer shopping/eating habits.

III. Food wastage: refers to any food lost by deterioration or discard. Thus, the term
“wastage” encompasses both food loss and food waste.

In recent years, food waste has become a widely-recognized global shame. A number of
campaign groups have coalesced around the issue, pushing it further up the public agenda,
while various governments have adopted policies to address the problem and companies have
made pledges to reduce food wastage and, in some cases, measurable improvements have
been made. However, while legislation and policies have been generated in many countries to
incentivize better food waste management, such as through avoidance of landfill, this should
be distinguished from pre-waste solutions aiming to actually reduce food wastage.

1.1 Causes of food losses and waste

a) Production exceeds demand;
b) Communication within supply chain;

c) Harvest;
d) Lack of processing facilities;

e) Bad packaging;
f) Transport;
g) Retailing;
h) Quantity planning;

i) Consumption habits;

Food is wasted throughout the Food Supply Sector (FSC), from initial agricultural production
down to final household consumption. In medium- and high-income countries food is to a
high extent wasted, meaning that it is thrown away, even if it is still suitable for human

FORWARD-WP5-1. Definition of food waste
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7