Spain: Pilot project to reduce food waste

According to figures from the European Commission, every year 100 million tonnes of food are thrown away in Europe, and this figure could reach 120 million by 2020. It is estimated that the food resources that are lost or wasted might be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world twice over. Food waste is also the third largest emitter of carbon in all EU countries.

The CREDA (Research Centre for Agro-food Economy and Development of IRTA and the UPC) is one of the partners of the REFRESH project (Resource Efficient Food and Drink for the Entire Supply Chain), funded by the European Union in the framework of the Horizon 2020 program. Its aim is to compile a broad scientific knowledge that can serve to analyse the keys to food waste in all stages of the value chain, and to design practical strategies to reduce it in the future. REFRESH aims to contribute to reducing food waste across the EU by 30% by 2025 while reducing waste management costs and maximising the value of unavoidable food waste and of the packaging material.

Pilot project in Spain
Spain is one of four pilot countries of the project, together with Hungary, Germany and the Netherlands. CREDA (UPC-IRTA) is working on a qualitative study of practices, perceptions and motivations of consumers in these regions, while analysing the understanding of the information provided in packaging and the acceptance of food waste as a by-product. Moreover, it is compiling qualitative data using a common methodology to understand household waste in its entirety.

In parallel, the project aims to create a platform formed by the key players in the food chain (producers, distributors, industry, social organizations, consumer associations and public institutions), which will use the results of the pilot projects to develop protocols to be applied at European level.

The pilot project in Spain has the participation of a number of important industry organizations, administration and associations:

• Mercabarna
• Espigoladors
• Banc d'Aliments (Food bank)
• ARC (Waste Agency of Catalonia)
• AMB (Metropolitan Area of Barcelona)
• PAA (Platform Aprofitem els Aliments)
• ADICAE (Association of Bank, Savings bank and Insurance Users)
• FIAB (Spanish Federation of Food Industries)
• ASEDAS (Spanish Association of Distributors, Self-service stores and Supermarkets)
• FCAC (Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Catalonia)
• AECOC (Association of Manufacturers and Distributors)
• HISPACOOP (Spanish Confederation of Consumer and User Cooperatives)

The project, which started a year ago, addresses the problem of food waste from an interdisciplinary perspective (politics, economics, consumer behaviour, environment, communication, etc.) and has 2019 as the year when the final results will be published. REFRESH brings together 26 research centres and offices in 12 European countries and China.

Source: IRTA

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