Re: Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems - E-consultation to set the track of the study

Felicitas Schneider Institute of Waste Management, BOKU-University of Natural Resources ...

Dear Sir or Madam,

many thanks for the opportunity to give response on the call “Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems” which is very interesting. The Institute of Waste Management of the BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna has been dealing with the topic of food wastage for more than 12 years and we have investigated different issues along the food supply chain (

From our point of view, the call includes a very general description of a very extensive issue and one should be careful not to overload the intended study too much. As it is mentioned, the study should be finished in a very short time period and it seems to be in question if it is possible to handle all the different issues in a proper way. Thus, we suggest to focus on issues which have not been already covered by previous studies (such as Gustavsson et al., 2011). A relaunch of an uncertain estimation on the generation of food losses and wastes based on the same very poor data seems not to be very meaningful.

The aspect of over-nutrition/obesity should be better excluded from the food waste prevention discussion as it raises a lot of ethically sensitive questions when thinking about implementation of corresponding prevention measures. Certainly obesity is an important topic but should be targeted in another context (e.g. economic damage due to increased health-care costs etc.).

Although food waste has been discussed for some time, there is no common definition or methodology. Further, uncoordinated research work has been done resulting in various recommendations to several countries worldwide. To facilitate a more efficient approach in future, we suggest to consider the approach and results of current food waste research projects. In August 2012 a 4-year FP7-project named FUSIONS was launched which is supported by 21 respectable European organisations and food waste experts from 13 EU member countries. The overall aim of the project is to contribute significantly to the harmonisation of food waste monitoring, to investigate the feasibility of social innovative measures for optimised food use in the food chain and the development of guidelines for a common Food Waste policy for EU-27. Utilising the policy and behavioural change recommendations from the delivery of the key objectives, the FUSIONS European multi-stakeholder platform will enable, encourage, engage and support key actors across Europe in delivering a 50% reduction of food waste and a 20% reduction in the food chains resource inputs by 2020. Examples could include uniform labelling addressing sell- or use-by dates, innovations in the chain to improve shelf-life of food products, or creative solutions for behavioural change within stakeholders. It all starts with agreed-upon definitions and a common methodology for referring to the extent of the problem and its drivers. More information can be found via the website ( or via facebook (

As the main goals of FUSIONS are very similar to those formulated within the CFS call, it seems to be very wise to consider the already done respectively planned work (FUSIONS will end in July 2016) to include the European Community area into CFS-project. The most reputed European food waste experts already contribute to the FUSIONS consortium, thus it can be seen as think tank for the region and could be used as input for the CFS-project.

Greetings from Vienna,

Felicitas Schneider and colleagues


Felicitas Schneider, MSc

Institute of Waste Management

BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Muthgasse 107/3rd floor

1190 Vienna