Abstract

About one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted each year. This represents a loss of natural resources consumed along the food supply chain that can also have negative impacts on food security. While food loss occurs between production and distribution and is prevalent in low-income countries, food waste occurs mainly at the consumer level, in the retail and food service sectors, and especially in developed countries. Preventing food losses and waste is therefore a potential strategy for better balance food supply and demand and is essential to improve food security while reducing environmental impact and providing economic benefits to the different actors in the food supply chain. In this context, we specifically provide an overview of case studies and examples of legislation from different countries and actions carried out by the various actors in the food chain and by non-profit organisations to effectively prevent and or reduce food loss and waste. We also outline current limitations and possible research avenues. We conclude that the comparison and the integration of knowledge, and the awareness of where along the food chain, for which foods and in which countries the greatest losses are produced, is essential to decide where and how to target efforts in the most effective way.

Highlights

  • One-third of the food produced globally for human consumption, corresponding to about 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted each year along the food supply chain (FSC) [1].FSC includes the series of related activities used to produce, process, distribute and consume food [2]

  • We provide an overview of case studies and examples of legislation from different countries and actions carried out by the various actors in the food chain and by non-profit organisations to effectively prevent and or reduce food loss and waste

  • In order to understand what is meant by food loss and food waste, it is important to refer to the correct definitions of “food”

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Summary

Introduction

One-third of the food produced globally for human consumption, corresponding to about 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted each year along the food supply chain (FSC) [1]. Losses along the FSC generally depend on socioeconomic, biological and/or microbiological, chemical or biochemical, mechanical and/or environmental factors [4] Some of these are related to the technologies, methods, techniques and practices employed and used by the several actors in the food system, such as mechanisation, agronomic practices and farm management practices. It is important to improve storage, transport and sales techniques and conditions to avoid losses and waste due to the increasing distance between the production site and the final consumption site [8]. To confirm these global trends, Parfitt, et al [9] considered the differences in post-harvest losses between developing, transition and developed countries. We provide an overview of the case studies and examples of legislation of different countries and of the actions carried out by the various actors in the food chain and by non-profit organisations to effectively prevent and/or reduce food losses and waste

Definition of “Food Loss” and “Food Waste”
Food Loss during Cultivation and Harvest
Food Loss during Post-Harvest
Quantifying Food Losses and Waste
Food Security and Nutrition
Environmental Sustainability
Economic Development
Possible Strategic Actions at Different Levels of the Food Chain
Measures
Preventing and Reducing Food Loss and Waste at Retail
Preventing or Reducing Food Loss and Waste at Consumption
Legislation to Prevent and Reduce Food Loss and Waste
Measures to prevent prevent and and reduce reduce FLW
Redistribution of Food
Findings
Conclusions

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