UNECE Launches Methods and Good Practices for Halving Food Waste
story highlights

The methodology includes a food loss and waste quantification method, a food loss and waste hotspot analysis method, and an analysis method for financial losses.

The methodology aims to generate big data that can guide policy makers in integrating food loss and waste into strategies such as national agricultural development policies, as well as support private sector producers in finding solutions.

In support of SDG target 12.3 (halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) launched a code of good practice for handling fresh produce to minimize loss along with a methodology for measurement. 

The code of good practice launched on 28 November provides guidelines on how to maintain quality and reduce food loss for three key groups along the fresh produce supply chain: producers, traders and retailers. The code covers issues ranging from staff training and production planning to storage, logistics and alternative marketing.

The methodology for measurement aims to simplify and ensure the systematic measuring of food loss and waste at several key points of the fresh produce supply chain. It includes a food loss and waste quantification method, a food loss and waste hotspot analysis method, and an analysis method for financial losses. It builds on existing methodologies in assessments globally and recent studies. 

The quantification method shows the quantity of loss at various nodes of the supply chain. For example, the difference between the quantity harvested (in kilograms) and the quantity transported to the wholesale. The hotspot analysis method reflects the throughput efficiency at various stages of the supply chain. For instance, the ratio of transported harvest to the actual harvest. The financial analysis takes into consideration the financial value of lost or wasted food as well as the cost of its transportation as applicable at various nodes. The methodology includes also a food loss and waste record sheet for daily use at every stage of the chain.

The formulas are applicable at the production, post-harvest, wholesale, transportation and packing stages of the fresh- produce supply chain. They can be used by farmers, wholesalers, transporters and packing houses.

The methodology aims to generate big data that can guide policy makers in integrating food loss and waste into strategies such as national agricultural development policies, as well as support private sector producers in finding solutions. UNECE mentions that the methodology could also be integrated into an IT-based smart food loss management system, adding that it is currently developing a blockchain-based online market for food that is lost or wasted in supply chains. The goal is to allow this “invisible” food to remain in the human consumption chain to the largest extent possible. The blockchain-based online market is expected to be launched in 2020. [UNECE Press Release]

related posts