A new European Union research project called REFRESH (“Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain”) aims to reduce food waste by 30% in the next 10 years. It is an initiative involving 26 partners from 12 European countries plus China, which includes reducing waste management costs and maximizing the value from packaging materials and unavoidable food waste.
According to its members, the project aims to develop strategic agreements to reduce food waste with governments, business and local stakeholders in four pilot countries (Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands). It will also formulate EU policy recommendations and support national implementation of food waste policy frameworks and design and develop technological innovations to improve valorization of food waste, e.g. from food processing, and ICT-based platforms and tools to support new and existing solutions to reduce food waste.
A European Commission report shows that nearly 30% of food is wasted throughout the agrifood supply chain. Around 100 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU (estimate for 2012) and that the food resources being lost and wasted in Europe would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world two times over. Modelling suggests if nothing is done, food waste could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020.
REFRESH runs from July 2015 – June 2019 and is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreement no. 641933.