Families throw out €400 of food

Anti-waste campaign bids to halve this with shops, businesses, markets and aid groups working together

21 October 2012

EACH year families in France throw out around €400 of food straight into the dustbin - and the government wants to halve this waste by 2025.

Food Industry Minister Guillaume Garot said each year between 20 and 30kg of food was binned for each person in France: "vegetables gone off, uneaten bread from restaurant meals, over-filled plates, unsold stocks from shops".

He has launched a move with supermarkets, businesses, food markets like Rungis, school meals services and local associations to slash the waste bill and stop good food being thrown out.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that, globally, one third of all food produced is lost or wasted. This amounts to 1.3billion tonnes - with up to 670million tonnes being lost in developed countries.

Supermarkets and businesses have been asked to look at selling products in smaller packages so that, for instance, yoghurts could be sold individually rather than than as packs of four or six.

They are also looking at ways of extending sales promotions and he pointed to problems with the typical "buy two get one free" deal where the excess product goes to waste. "Today, if you buy two products in an offer and get a third free it risks going off. Tomorrow, the shop will allow the customer to pick up the item at a later date."

He is also encouraging businesses to look again at "Use by" dates - not to extend them but to make sure that items are taken off the shelves promptly so they can be passed to food aid organisations. New contracts have been signed with the seven Marches d'Interet National so that aid groups can collect food for immediate use.

Pilot projects to adjust portion sizes have been also launched in some schools in Dordogne and a business canteen in Mayenne to avoid waste.

The final element will be an advertising campaign, which will start in January, and the first results will be evaluated in spring and in June.

A website on ways to avoid food waste has been set up at www.gaspillagealimentaire.fr
Photo: Feng Yu - Fotolia.com

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