MTT Raportti 41 (2012).
Ruokahävikki suomalaisessa ruokaketjussa: Foodspill 2010-2012 -hankkeen loppuraportti . Silvennoinen, Kirsi; Koivupuro, Heta-Kaisa; Katajajuuri, Juha-Matti; Jalkanen, Lotta; Reinikainen, Anu; 65 s.
Keywords: Food waste, food supply chain, households, food service, food industry,
Food amounts to over a third of the environmental impact of Finnish overall consumption. When examining the impact on climate alone, food chain amounts to ca one quarter of the climate impact of consumption, whereas the eutrophication impact on water system is even more pronounced (Seppälä et al 2009). It is both ecologically and economically unsustainable to waste edible food instead of consuming it, because then the environmental impacts of producing the raw materials and processing them to food have been pointless.
The aim of this Foodspill project research was to identify the volume of Finnish food waste, and its distribution among all parties involved in the food supply chain: households, food services, retail sector, and food industry.
Households During the two-week study period the amount of avoidable food waste per household varied from 0 to 23.4 kilograms. When extrapolated to describe the food waste over a period of one year, the average annual avoidable food waste varied from 0 to 160 kilograms per person, with an average of 23 kg per person. Together it was estimated to be 120 to 160 million kilograms per year. The majority of discarded food was fresh and perishable, or leftovers from cooking and dining.
The main discarded foodstuff were vegetables; home cooked food; milk products; bakery and grains; and fruits and berries. For meat, fish and eggs the number was 7%; and for convenience food 6% (Figure 1). Home cooked food included various foodstuff prepared at home, such as casseroles, stews, sauces and gravies, porridges, and soups. Convenience food included ready-made casseroles and other meals, but also hamburgers, pizzas and baby food, including infant formula. The waste of tinned goods, and other non-perishable foodstuff, such as snacks was relatively low, only 2.5%.
The main reasons for disposing of food were spoiling, e.g. moulded (29%); past 'best before' date (19%); leftovers from dining (14%); and preparing food over need (13%).
Food service and restaurants During summer and autum 2010 we carried out a study concentrating on mapping the volume and composition of food waste in 72 outlets in food services and restaurants. The waste divided due the generation in three parts: kitchen waste (e.g. flaws in cooking, spoiled products and raw materials), serving losses (e.g. overproduction) and plate leftovers. The amount of food waste varied from 7% to 28% of cooked food, depending on restaurant type, and it was estimated to be 75 to 85 million kilograms per year. This covers about one fifth of all food handled and prepared in restaurants and catering businesses. Findings also suggest that the main reason for food waste is serving loss.
Retail sector The study was carried out by interviewing various parties in retail chains, waste management, and other associated actors. The research did not include any weighings to determine the actual amount of waste, and of that there was no statistical data available.
We estimated the total food waste of Finnish wholesale and retail business to be 65-75 million kilograms; 12-14 kilograms per every Finnish citizen per year. The main product groups causing food waste in stores were fruits and vegetables, and bread. Other products resulting in waste were dairy products, fresh meat and fish, and convenience food. The least food waste was found in tinned goods, dried or frozen food, and other non-perishable goods.
Food industry The generation of food waste in the Finnish food industry was studied by collecting information on the amounts of food waste from companies taking part in the Foodspill-research project. In addition, information on the generation of food waste was collected from some other companies of the Finnish food industry, corporate responsibility reports of food companies, and other literature. In addition to industrial food processing also the amount of food waste from the production of vegetables in green houses was included in the study. Unfortunately in cases of some sectors of the food industry not enough corporate-specific information on food waste was managed to obtain and therefore only a coarse estimate of the total amount of wastage of edible food in the Finnish food industry can be presented. No previously presented results on the amount of the wastage of edible food in the Finnish food industry were found in literature. Therefore the results of this study provide the first estimate. In order to get more accurate results there is a need for further research. Research should be targeted especially on the sectors in which a lot of food waste may be generated but from which no corporate-specific data was obtained for this study (cereal milling, vegetable and fruit processing, slaughtering).
Based on the calculations made in this study 75-140 million kilograms of edible food is wasted annually in the Finnish food industry. This corresponds on average roughly 3% of the total production volume of industry sectors included in the study. Not all of the edible food possibly wasted in the sectors included in the study is included in the estimate as the share of edible material in some side-streams could not be evaluated based on the data obtained for the study. This type of side-streams which were excluded from the calculations were the side-streams from the sorting and peeling of vegetable and fruit, hull and bran material from cereal milling, and side-streams from slaughtering (blood, intestinal organs, skins etc.). The results of the project suggest that every year consumers, food services, retailers, and food industry combined waste over 335 to 460 million kilograms of food in Finland, 62-86 kilograms per every Finnish citizen (Chart 1).
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