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156 Food Waste Reduction Measures and Data on the Entire German Food Retail Sector

Halfway through its cooperation, the Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail can build upon numerous food waste reduction measures and, for the first time, delivers data on food waste for the entire food retail sector in Germany.

“The food waste community knows: only what is measured can also be reduced”, points out Nora Brüggemann, coordinator of the Dialogue Forum, underlining the need for transparency in order to facilitate impactful solutions.

Until now, studies on food waste quantities in Germany have represented only estimates, making it difficult to rely on them. The joint work of the 21 members of the Dialogue Forum is highly valuable not only in gaining more insights into food waste in the retail and wholesale sector in Germany and in the companies internally, but also in enabling the identification of reduction solutions that can deliver real impact.

Jointly, the retail and wholesale members have laid out the foundation for further analysis and work. All 21 members:

  • collect food waste data in their own companies. Of these, 16 companies have already shared these internally-collected data in the form of sales losses for the year 2019, enabling the Thünen-Institute, a Dialogue Forum partner, to calculate the food waste.
  • cooperate on food donations with a social institution, e.g., with the German food banks.
  • individually implement reduction measures, be it internally or at the interface with suppliers as well as measures related to food redistribution. So far, a total of 156 measures have been counted, including price reductions for fruits and vegetables or products close to the best-before-date; optimisation of the process-/logistics-/ and cool-chain; or innovative demonstration projects on the valorisation of food waste streams.

The data collected by the Dialogue Forum for the entire food retail sector, suggests that the extrapolated sales losses for 2019 amount to 4.1 billion euros (1.76 % of food sales), which corresponds to 710 thousand tons of food. Deducting food donations, this results in about 500 thousand tons of food waste. Further details can be found in the Dialogue Forum interim and monitoring reports. The interim report, compiled by the CSCP, provides a comprehensive overview of the activities implemented by the members, while the monitoring report prepared by the forum partner, Thünen-Institute, presents a detailed analysis of the collected data.

“In 2021, we aim to gather similarly high-quality data for the wholesale sector and to improve the data situation on food donations. In addition, we would like to individually analyse the data of interested companies in order to identify effective levers for reduction measures.”, highlights Lia Orr from the Thünen-Institute, the project partner responsible for data aggregation and analysis.

“These activities and the members engagement pave the way for the joint development of a target agreement with which the companies pursue the goal of halving food waste by 2030.”, says Nora Brüggemann, moderator of the Dialogue Forum, heralding the joint development of concrete reduction targets, principles of cooperation as well as measurement and review of progress.

The Dialogue Forum Wholesale and Retail is part of the National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste, adopted by the Germany government in 2019. The forum offers wholesale and retail companies in Germany a platform for their joint commitment to reduce food waste. The project is conducted by the CSCP in partnership with the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut and it is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) .

For further information please contact Nora Brüggemann.