National Dialogue Forum for Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail Industry

From field to fork, about one third of the food that is produced for human consumption is lost worldwide. The World Food Organization estimates that yearly 1.3 billion tons of food are not consumed. In Germany, about eleven million tons of food ended up as waste in 2015, equalling more than one year of the food demand of Switzerland.

One of the clearly defined goals of the German Government is to see a significant reduction in food waste along the food supply chain by 2030. Taking into consideration the quantity of food wasted and lost along with the ethical, social, economic and ecological implications, it is important that all actors of society put in the required effort to achieve this goal. In order to jointly implement effective measures, the Federal Government has developed the National Strategy for Reducing Food Waste. In this context, the handelsforumRLV is now starting its work as “National Dialogue Forum for Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail Industry” (Dialogforum des Groß- und Einzelhandels zur Reduktion von Lebensmittelverschwendung).

Wholesale and retail trade are being granted special importance with regard to the reduction of food waste: on one hand, companies can continue to exploit existing optimisation potential in their own markets. On the other hand, being a direct “bridge to the consumer” and an interface to food production, retailers can work in both directions towards improvements and promote the appreciation and more responsible handling of food in society.

Building upon its extensive experience in multi-stakeholder engagement and its previous work in the REFRESH project, the CSCP will coordinate and moderate the handelsforumRLV, focusing on the reduction of food waste in the wholesale and retail industry in Germany. In line with the National Strategy for Reducing Food Waste, the objective of the handelsforumRLV is to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal SDG 12.3. For retail and consumption, the SDG 12.3 specifically aims to halve food waste by 2030. Concrete measures and steps to reduce food waste in the retail industry will be developed and implemented by taking into consideration reduction potential and priority areas as well as the best practices from Germany and abroad. Additionally, links to other sectors will be assessed and evaluated. Improvement and updating the existing data sources will play a significant role in monitoring food waste in wholesale and retail companies. Through a process of exchanging in-depth information, experiences, and sector-specific targets, the dialogue participants will develop suitable implementation and evaluation formats.


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The dialogue forum is carried out by the CSCP in collaboration with the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut.

The project is supported by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) under the Federal Program for Ecological Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture.