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Food waste – a global call for action

Food waste is a global problem. According to the United Nations, roughly one third of all food for human consumption gets lost or is wasted throughout the production; that is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year. The United Nations has addressed this challenge in the Sustainable Development Goals where Danish technologies play an important role in providing solutions.

SDG Goal 12 – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns – includes objectives to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains by 2030. The Danish food cluster can provide solutions to every part of the supply chain. With an estimated amount of 1.3 billion tonnes every year, food waste is to be considered as a global challenge that concerns all of us. When an estimated 1 billion people go undernourished and an additional 1 billion people go hungry, there is great potential and need for all partners to take action to minimize this problem.

Food waste at production level – important steps to optimize production

In food production, there is great potential to bring down food waste. In the developing part of the world, food waste is often due to technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions, infrastructure and packaging systems.

The Danish food cluster has large experience and is well-known for its great competences in primary production and is also home to some of the most advanced technologies. For example, when it comes to cold chain operations, Denmark has several solutions that can reduce the discard of products when they are transported from production facility to store. One of the world’s largest suppliers of technologies for food operations, GEA, has several opperations in Denmark. One of their areas of expertise is transportation of potatoes in which energy costs make up much of the total expenditures. GEA’s optimised freezing solutions can help regulate the temperature required in transportation without compromising on quality and thus create large savings while making sure that the food waste is kept at an absolute minimum.

What can consumers do?

The causes of food losses and waste in high-income countries mainly relate to consumer behavior as well as to a lack of coordination between different actors in the supply chain. In addition to the food waste at productional level, there is a challenge in changing habits among consumers to bring down food waste. In the more developed part of the world, a larger portion of the food waste takes place in the very end of the supply chain – the consumers and the food service sector. An example of how the Danish food cluster offers solutions that help minimize food waste is the enzymes of Novozymes that extend the lifetime of bread before it turns dry and crumbles – and on top makes a standardised taste every time.

Ensuring food for all people will be one of the largest global food challenges in the 21st century, and minimizing food waste will play an important role in solving this issue.  Follow the cases from the Danish food cluster and see how the solutions of tomorrow can help reduce the amount of food wasted.