The EU launched the Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW) that aims to support the EU and its Member States in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chain.

On July 5th 2016 a workshop on Food Waste Recovery was held in Vienna. Nicole Unger gave a presentation on the role of food waste recovery in a circular economy. The presentation covered the broad context of circular economy and food waste. The work of the REFRESH project was also presented.

The role of food waste management in a circular economy will be the topic of a dedicated session at the next Life Cycle Management conference LCM 2017 in Luxembourg. The panel discussion will explore the role the waste management and valorisation sector plays in regards to food waste as industry and society moves towards a circular economy. The call for abstracts is open until December 15th, 2016.

This study shows which survey questions appear suitable to measure food waste in large surveys, and which can best be avoided. It also provides insights in new measurement methods for smaller samples.

REFRESH has met its first major milestones, with National Platforms now established in Germany, Spain, Hungary and The Netherlands. We have worked closely with each of our pilot partners to develop a Framework Agreement (FA) based on the principles of Courtauld 2025 and shaped to be relevant to priorities in each country. All of the FA’s align to the delivery of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

A new London-wide behaviour change initiative by REFRESH Partner WRAP along with LWARB and Groundwork London could save Londoners £330m, reduce avoidable food waste in the capital and increase awareness of more healthy and sustainable eating.

In the 2nd meeting of the German Business Engagement Steering Committee meeting, the participating organizations finalized the Framework for Action (FA) to combat food waste across the whole value chain. With this document we have an excellent basis to define projects to reduce food waste at the relevant food value chain stages.

On the 6 and 7th of June the Cold Chain Management Conference was held in Bonn. The REFRESH team presented about food waste reducing innovations in the meat supply chain at the conference. The conference brings academia together with industry and public organisations to discuss about issues in the cold supply chain.

The EU Commission will establish an EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste. The Platform will bring together public entities (Member States/EFTA countries, EU bodies and international organisations) and actors in the food value chain including consumer- and other non-governmental organisations. Public entities are invited by the Commission to join the Platform as members. Private sector organisations can apply for participation until 27 May 2016.

REFRESH is currently conducting qualitative studies to improve the understanding of consumer behaviour and food waste. Therefore, over 20 of 24 focus groups have taken place in Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands. In each country, a total of 6 focus groups will be conducted to discuss motivations, backgrounds and situations when people throw away foods, characteristics of the perfect non–waster both at home and out of home, as well as a ranking of different products and situations on acceptability of throwing away food.

15th March 2016 marked the launch of Courtauld 2025 – a world–leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of UK food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond. Over 100 signatories including all major UK food retailers, brands, food service companies, trade bodies and local authorities have already signed up.

To accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 12.3 a coalition of “champions” (Champions 12.3) was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2016. Within the coalition of 30 global leaders on food waste, four are also partners within the REFRESH consortium.

Food waste is an issue of importance to global food security and good environmental governance, directly linked with all aspects of sustainability (e.g. availability of resources, increasing costs and health). There is a pressing need to prevent food waste to make the transition to a resource efficient Europe.

FUSIONS launches a new consultation to finalize the inventory and analysis of current legislations and policies impacting food waste generation for the EU and its 28 Member States and EEA.  With this consultation, FUSIONS aims specifically to update the existing information on the countries mentioned above, as well as to complete the inventory by including information from the remaining countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia (GROUP B).

In December, the French National Assembly voted unanimously to prevent supermarkets from wasting unsold food. With the passage of the new law, supermarkets will be forced to give away surplus food and the practice of destroying unsold food will be banned. Individuals are allowed to establish associations to collect and distribute the surplus food.

The measure was passed in a law in March 2015, which was anulled by the courts due to procedural flaws. The new law enjoyed widespread support across partisan lines, a rare occurance in France.

On December 2, 2015 the European Commission adopted the new Circular Economy Package that includes an EU Action Plan. Action to address food waste is a key component of the strategy, which sets out to contribute to meeting the global Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030. The proposals within the package have gathered support from a range of stakeholders and EU Member States, including many in the packaging industry. It includes measures related to food waste, such as commitments to improve date labeling. However, some have criticised the removal of a concrete target on reducing food waste. Talks on the implementation of the package are ongoing in 2016.

In September 2015, over 150 political leaders met in New York City to adopt the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 established goals set the world’s sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years. Within Goal 12 there is now an international target (12.3) of halving per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains until 2030. 2016 is an essential year for all countries – including the EU and its Member States - to start implementing the SDGs.

The EU-funded project FUSIONS has fed thousands of people on food that would otherwise be wasted in some of Europe's biggest cities. Raising awareness is part of a strategy to reduce food waste. The project is also examining ways to encourage businesses and households to use food more efficiently and discard less. Its proposals could increase resource efficiency along the supply chain, cut bills for shoppers, and contribute to a sustainable food system.

16 September 2015 marks the start of the EU Horizon 2020 funded project "Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain" (REFRESH). 26 partners from 12 European countries and China will work towards the project's goal to contribute towards the objectives of reducing food waste across Europe by 30% by 2025, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from unavoidable food waste and packaging materials. REFRESH will run from July 2015 - June 2019.