EuroCommerce, the group that represents the retail and wholesale sector in Europe, has said that the sector's efforts to cutting food waste need to be marched by public authorities in order for real progress to be made.
EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren was commenting following EuroCommerce's participation in a European Commission conference on food waste and loss, alongside other members of the EU Platform on Food Waste and Loss platform.
“Our sector’s positive contribution to reducing food waste needs to be matched by action from public authorities if it is to be as effective as possible," Verschueren said.
"We need decision-makers to make the legal position and tax treatment of donations of food a lot clearer and more favourable in order to create the right conditions for wholesome food which cannot be sold to get to people who can benefit most from it.”
As EuroCommerce pointed out, the retail sector has driven sustainability issues through voluntary action at company or national and European level, such as through the 2012 retail agreement on waste, the EU-funded REFRESH project, and the food waste reduction pledge by the Consumer Goods Forum.
The retail sector, EuroCommerce noted, accounts for less than 5% of total food waste along the food supply chain, but is working hard with all stakeholders on the UN SDG target of halving food waste by 2030.
'As food waste has undeniable environmental, social but also economic consequences, our sector takes this issue very seriously. Cost of food waste and markdowns for European retail is estimated to be some €13 billion, or 1.6 % of total sales, so there are both commercial and environmental win-win in tackling the problem effectively,' it said.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine