Norway observes the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

Norway observed the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste at 29th September.

– It is important that the world now has an international day against food waste. Throwing away less food requires that we simultaneously raise awareness of and increase knowledge about this challenge, but also about solutions. For most people all this is about small changes to daily habits, as well as simply making more use of their senses, says Minister of Agriculture and Food Olaug Bollestad.

Food waste is a major global problem. One third of all food produced in the world is lost, while 700 million people are starving. Globally, food waste contributes to almost ten percent of the total man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The international day against food waste is a way to raise awareness on this issue. The good news is that we can all easily help to throw away less food, for example by looking, smelling, tasting and touching food productss that have passed its "Best before"-date, because food can often have good quality after this date. The blind test taken by the government demonstrated this.

Best before does not mean bad after

– More and more products are labelled with the text "often good after" right behind the text "Best before". This is definitely a step in the right direction, as it makes consumers more aware that these products are often of good quality after the "best before" date. We must use our sensory apparatus to determine this, says the Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. "Use by" is about ensuring food safety, while "Best before" relates to the quality of the food.

Agreement on 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030

– Both the Norwegian government and the UN have set a goal of a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. In Norway, the industry agreement has been an effective tool to reduce food waste, and we are on schedule to attain the first sub-goal of a 15 percent reduction by 2020. We also reduced greenhouse gas emissions as well as economic losses in the food industry. This is a true win-win measure for all parties involved, says Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn.

Every year, Norway throws away 390,000 tonnes of food at a value of NOK 22 billion. This food loss corresponds to 1.3 million CO2 equivalents per year. Therefore, we have entered into an industry agreement with 12 organizations across the entire food industry, from farmers to the catering industry, to reduce food waste. 103 food and beverage industry operators have committed themselves to engage. In recent years, the food industry has reduced food waste by 12 percent (2015-2018). This shows that the industry agreement helps to reduce food waste.

Improved 2020 food waste figures

– Food waste occurs along the entire value chain, and this, therefore, requires awareness and measures at all levels. Proper handling of raw materials helps to extend food shelf life. Efforts to maintain quality is therefore an important factor in reducing food waste in the seafood area, says Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

– And this year, agriculture will be involved in monitoring its own levels of food waste, says Minister of Agriculture and Food Olaug Bollestad. - This is extremely helpful, since better statistics on food waste in agriculture will make it easier to effectively target all subsequent measures. Agricultural associations are among the organizations that are signatories to the industry agreement on food waste, and they work actively to reduce food waste in their segment of the value chain, says Bollestad.

– It is very good news that consumers are now throwing away less food. This shows that measures to raise consumer awareness actually work, says Minister of Consumer Affairs Kjell Ingolf Ropstad. On average, every Norwegian throws away one out of every eight shopping bags of food. However, two studies indicate that consumers throw away less food after the corona outbreak.