This workshop presented and discussed preliminary findings on opportunities for improving EU policies relevant to food waste prevention and valorisation and explored short- and long-term strategies with stakeholders. It was directed at policymakers and high-level experts in food waste from business, research, and civil society. 

Food Waste is a problem that has its roots in different sectors and different policy areas. Hence, solving the problem needs a strategic and integrative approach. While there has been some progress on EU level to fight food waste, it remains a main challenge to better align the different policies which can combat food waste. In order to identify opportunities for policy improvement and synergies between different policy areas, the EU research project REFRESH has conducted an EU policy screening that analyses the different entry points of EU policies to food waste prevention and valorization and formulates op-portunities for improvement. A summary of the workshop outcomes can be found in the minutes.

The report "Food waste prevention and valorisation: relevant EU policy areas" provides an overview of the most relevant EU policies and instruments with an impact on food waste generation and/or prevention. It explains the relevance of the different policy areas at EU level and identifies the gaps, overlaps and unintended effects of EU regulation. Finally, it identifies potential opportunities for improvement in each policy area. While the report intends to provide an overview of EU policies, it is not exhaustive. Policy areas that have been analysed are the following:

  • waste and resource policies,
  • food safety and hygiene regulation (including the special case of surplus food use for animal feed),
  • agricultural policy (CAP),
  • fisheries policy (CFP),
  • unfair trading practices (UTPs), and
  • bioenergy.

These policy areas are regulated in various degrees within several regulatory frameworks. The report also discusses policy areas that are less regulated, but still provide different entry points for policy makers to address food waste, namely:

  • The role of voluntary agreements and how policy makers can support their success.
  • Policy approaches to change consumer behaviour, e.g. through on-pack information (including, but not exclusively date labelling) and information and awareness campaigns directed at consumers and businesses.

In the workshop, participants and REFRESH researchers investigated all above mentioned policy areas. The workshop featured structured sessions for dialogue across sectors and policy areas to develop a common understanding of drivers and opportunities. The results of the workshop will guide future policy work within the REFRESH project (e.g. development of specific policy recommendations). The findings of this report lay the foundation for the development of policy recommendations in four areas, to be explored in following publications: use of surplus food to animal feed, building of voluntary alliances between business and policy actors, behaviour change of consumers, and unfair trading practices. For each of the policy areas a REFRESH policy brief will be published between summer 2018 and spring 2019. REFRESH is also conducting a Policy Working Group Series on these topics in 2018 and 2019.

The workshop took place on 08. November 2017 in Brussels, back to back with the Meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste on 07. November. Documentation from the workshop including the minutes (following Chatham House Rules) , agenda, presentations, and photo documentation are available below. The full report is available under the Results section of the REFRESH website.



  • English


Ecologic Institute