Research: decline in food waste stagnating

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On average, the Dutch threw away more than 33 kilos of food per person last year. That is almost a kilogram less than in the previous measurement in 2019, according to research by the Nutrition Center. The decrease is stagnating, however, with the previous measurement the waste had decreased by almost 7 kilos per person.

For the study, which is held every three years, the waste of 130 households and the organic waste of 110 households were examined via random samples in thirteen municipalities. It showed that bread and pasta are thrown away the most. Vegetables, fruit, potatoes and dairy products also often end up in the wheelie bin. These product groups accounted for more than half of Dutch food waste.

Preventing food waste plays a major role in combating climate change. In 2030, waste must be halved compared to 2015. In 2030, a maximum of 21.6 kilos of food per person should be thrown away annually. The Netherlands is on track to achieve that target, but the decline should not level off any further.

NOS op 3 explains the impact of food waste and what you can do about it:

You should know this about not eating food

The Netherlands Nutrition Center is pleased that less food has been wasted, but is concerned about the stagnation. “There is still a lot of room for improvement and a lot still needs to be done to achieve the target,” says sustainable food expert Lilou van Lieshout. “But if we all throw away 250 grams of food less per week, we are already there.”

It has not been investigated why waste is decreasing less quickly than before, but the Nutrition Center does have a suspicion. “The easiest profit has now been achieved and more complex behavior is now needed to further reduce waste,” says Van Lieshout. “There is not one action that can be taken, the solution lies in a combination of habits.”

Elisah Pals is concerned with such habits. She is the founder of Zero Waste Netherlands, an organization that is committed to reducing waste and preventing food waste.

According to her, the fight against waste starts in the supermarket. “We often buy more than we need because, for example, there is a special offer, or we buy when we are hungry. It can be very helpful to make a shopping list in advance and stick to it.”

Cooking with leftovers

According to her, it is also important to think carefully about which products you put in your shopping basket. For example, it is better not to buy pre-cut food, because it does not last as long. Once at home, the items must be stored correctly: tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, for example, keep longer if they are kept outside the refrigerator.

There are also a lot of recipes where the ingredients are used completely, or leftovers are used. Pals also points out that leftover food can be frozen or eaten the next day at lunch. “If there is still something left, you can offer the food in one of the many food sharing groups in the Netherlands.”

The Nutrition Center emphasizes that not only consumers are responsible in the fight against food waste. Producers and supermarkets must also do their part. For example, they can offer smaller portions and provide better shelf life information and storage instructions.

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  • Nutrition center: bread cap eaters also waste less other food
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