FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Following the request of the 26th Session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG), FAO has developed the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction (CoC). The CoC was developed through an inclusive process under the overall direction and guidance of the COAG Bureau. Inputs for the CoC and feedback on its contents were obtained through consultations that were organized at global and regional levels and involved different stakeholders who deal with food loss and waste (FLW) issues.

Conference website (Click for more information)

Food Loss and Waste

Food loss and waste reduction should be seen as a means toward achieving other objectives, including improving food security and nutrition, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering pressure on water and land resources and can increase productivity and economic growth.

The formulation of effective policies toward food loss and waste reduction requires comprehensive information as to how much and where – both geographically and along the supply chain – various foods are lost or wasted. FAO’s work on measurement and support to countries to take action to reduce food loss and waste is critical to tracking progress made by countries.

Vegetable industry
Dairy industry
Fruit industry
Cocoa Industry

Food loss is the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers (SOFA,2019).

Empirically, it refers to any food that is discarded, incinerated or otherwise disposed of along the food supply chain from harvest/slaughter/catch up to, but excluding, the retail level, and does not re-enter in any other productive utilization, such as feed or seed.


Food waste refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers (SOFA, 2019).

Less food loss and waste would lead to more efficient land use and better water resource management with positive impacts on climate change and livelihoods.

Retail markets
Food Banks

The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions,

infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems. Given that many smallholder farmers in developing countries live on the margins of food insecurity, a reduction in food losses could have an immediate and significant impact on their livelihoods.

The food supply chains in developing countries need to be strengthened by, inter alia, encouraging small farmers to organize and to diversify and upscale their production and marketing. Investments in infrastructure, transportation, food industries and packaging industries are also required. Both the public and private sectors have a role to play in achieving this. (Source: FAO 2011. Global food losses and food waste: extent, causes and prevention).

Technical Platforms

Food waste is the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food services and consumers (SOFA, 2019). Large amounts of nutritious edible food are often unnecessarily wasted and discarded by households, restaurants and retailers.

There are many factors that influence food waste and numerous ways in which the food is wasted. These range from consumer behaviour patterns, habits and knowledge to shelf life and various marketing strategies employed by retailers to optimise profits.

Food loss and waste database
Consumer behaviour
Retail markets
Recovery and Redistribution

The Food Loss and Waste database is the largest online collection of data on both food loss and food waste and causes reported throughout the literature. The database contains data and information from openly accessible reports and studies measuring food loss and waste across food products, stages of the value chain, and geographical areas. In October 2019, more than 480 publications and reports from various sources (e.g., subnational reports, academic studies, and reports from national and international organizations such as the World Bank, GIZ, FAO, IFPRI, and other sources), which have produced more than 20 thousand data points, were included. Data can be queried, downloaded, and plotted in an interactive and structured way. The database can be used by anyone who wishes to know more about food losses and waste.

Food Standardization
The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA)