An initiative from the French Ministry of Agriculture to create a link between professionals from the agrifood sector and public charities in order to reduce food waste and fight hunger.

A practical example: the “donation market”

The “donation market” is an initiative from the French Ministry of Agriculture to create a link between professionals from the agrifood sector and public charities. This idea comes from the fact that professionals and associations are facing difficulties to find contacts and don’t have time to either give away food for free or find donors. This public platform responds to these difficulties and is very easy to use. Donors propose on the platform the kind of donation they want to make as well as its condition of use and its transportation. As soon as it is posted on the internet, all the potential receivers are alerted by e-mail and can accept it. Donors can propose on the platform either food, material, transportation, or knowledge.

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr - Food Donation's Policy of the Hospital of Mans, to fight against food waste

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr – Food Donation’s Policy of the Hospital of Mans, to Fight Against Food Waste

As well as helping to connect people and fighting hunger, this platform is also a way of reducing food waste, as it encourages people to give food rather than to throw it away and to offer extra room in transportation, for example.

Origin of food waste and means of action

Researchers from CIRAD and INRA, in their studies “Agrimonde” and “Dualine,” have examined possible systems of production and alimentation to feed the world in 2050. According to them, feeding 9 billion people by 2050 is possible so long as: we increase yield in a sustainable way, we reduce waste from field to fork, and we manage to change our food habits. They insist on the fact that wasting food also means wasting energy, soil, water which were used to produce it and which will be used to destroy their waste. Researchers also make a distinction between food loss, which occurs during the early stage of production (just after the harvest, during the first storage, transport, and first transformation) and which mostly concerns poor countries, and food waste, which are due to consumption habits (at home, in restaurants) or because of mismanagement of storage in the retail sector. Food waste mostly concerns rich countries. Of course solutions to food wastes and food loss are different.

To reduce food waste by half before 2025, the European Commission has proposed guidelines to Member States: to educate people, to encourage better labeling and packaging, to ask Member States to favor partnership with responsible catering companies. Examples are also provided like: to implement a new label “sell-before date,” to encourage new sizes of packaging for a better preservation of the products, to teach children good practices for a good use of food.

© Min.agri.fr

© Min.agri.fr

Key data:

In the European Union:

  • 42% of food waste comes from the domestic use
  •  39% from the food-industry
  •  5% from retailers
  •  14% comes from the catering sector
  •  every citizen wastes 394lb per year
  •  89 million metric tons of food are wasted each year over the 27 countries of the EU.

To learn more about this subject, here is the French National Pact against Food Waste.