About the project

"Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain" (REFRESH) is an EU research project taking action against food waste. 26 partners from 12 European countries and China work towards the project's goal to contribute towards Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from un-avoidable food waste and packaging materials.

Creating solutions, using research and public-private collaboration

REFRESH focuses on the reduction of avoidable waste and improved valorisation of food resources. Backed by research to better understand the drivers of food waste, the project supports better decision-making by industry and individual consumers. The project takes an innovative, systemic approach to curb food waste through a holistic "Framework for Action". REFRESH builds on and goes beyond existing initiatives to develop, evaluate, and ensure the spread of social, technological, and organisational insights and practices related to food waste. This is underpinned with guidance to legislators and policy makers to help support effective governance to tackle food waste.

The project aims to:

  • Develop strategic agreements to reduce food waste with governments, business and local stakeholders in four pilot countries (Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands). A call for pilots will be issued for the business community and other stakeholders to participate in testing new approaches to reduce food waste and replicate these approaches into other countries.
  • Formulate EU policy recommendations and support national implementation of food waste policy frameworks.
  • Design and develop technological innovations to improve valorisation of food waste, e.g. from food processing, and ICT-based platforms and tools to support new and existing solutions to reduce food waste.

REFRESH runs from July 2015 - June 2019 and is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreement no. 641933. The REFRESH team can build on the results and experience of the FUSIONS project.

Download REFRESH materials:

REFRESH project flyer

REFRESH postcard apples

REFRESH postcard veggies

Project structure

The project is split into eight Work Packages focusing on specific topics and actions. Activities in each work package are split between the project’s 26 partners.

Work Packages

Lead organisation


Consumer understanding in relation to waste generation, handling, reuse and by-product valorization

Wageningen University & Research (WUR), The Netherlands


Business engagement: Frameworks for Action

WRAP, United Kingdom


Policy framework for food waste prevention, recycling, and reuse

Deloitte Développement Durable, France


Behavioural economic approaches and scenarios for food waste prevention, reduction and valorization

University of Bologna (UNIBO), Italy


Environmental and life cycle costing dimensions of food waste

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden


Valorization of waste streams and co-products

Institute of Food Research (IFR), United Kingdom


Communication, impact oriented dissemination, and exploitation

Ecologic Institute, Germany


Project Management

Wageningen University & Research - (WUR), The Netherlands

Project partners

Led by Wageningen University, the REFRESH consortium brings together 26 partners from 12 European countries and China. Partners include leading universities, research institutes, private businesses, governments, civil society and other stakeholders. The project consortium consists of an interdisciplinary team that has in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge and a proven track record of working together effectively in national and cross-border research projects.

  1. All-China Environment Federation (ACEF), China
  2. Anthesis Group, United Kingdom
  3. Bactevo, United Kingdom
  4. Center for Agro-food Economy and Development (CREDA-UPC-IRTA), Spain
  5. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), China
  6. Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), Germany
  7. Deloitte Développement Durable, France
  8. Ecologic Institute, Germany
  9. EuroFIR AISBL, Belgium
  10. Global Feedback, United Kingdom
  11. GS1 AISBL (GS1), Belgium
  12. Hungarian Food Bank Association, Hungary
  13. Institute of Food Research (IFR), United Kingdom
  14. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), Sweden
  15. Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), Slovenia
  16. Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  17. Provalor, the Netherlands
  18. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Kenya*
  19. University of Bologna (UNIBO), Italy
  20. University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria
  21. University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  22. RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden
  23. Vacuvita, The Netherlands
  24. Wageningen UR (WUR), The Netherlands
  25. Wageningen UR - DLO, (WUR-DLO), The Netherlands
  26. WRAP, United Kingdom
  27. Sensus, The Netherlands



A third of food is wasted, making food waste the third-biggest carbon emitter

Across the globe, nearly 30% of food is wasted throughout the agrifood supply chain. Around 100 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU (estimate for 2012). Modelling suggests if nothing is done, food waste could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020. The food resources being lost and wasted in Europe would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world two times over (European Commission 2015). Together with moving to more sustainable diets, reducing food waste both in and out of the home is the most significant demand-side measure for reducing the carbon impact of the food system.

See the About section to learn more about what REFRESH is doing to address these issues. To take action yourself, visit the Get Involved page.

*UNEP is no longer a participating partner in REFRESH