Reducing consumer food waste using green and digital technologies

The world is facing a food-waste crisis. It is estimated that 931 million tonnes of food were wasted by households, retailers, restaurants and other food services in 2019 [1]. Around 61% of this waste occurs within households. Reducing food waste offers multiple benefits for people and the planet, contributing to improving food security, cutting pollution, saving money, reducing the pressures on nature and climate, and creating opportunities for economy and society. It is for this reason that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 sets a clear target of halving per capita global food waste by retailers and consumers by 2030. The UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 highlighted innovation as the key to transforming the way food is produced and disposed of. Green and digital technologies are playing an increasing role in reducing consumer food waste and driving food consumption towards more sustainable patterns. Cities in both developed and developing countries are well positioned to harness new opportunities arising from green and digital technologies. This report provides an overview of the causes of consumer food waste and the opportunities for reducing it through different means: behavioural change, technological solutions, and public and private initiatives to mitigate the problem. This study aims to improve understanding of how green and digital technologies could be used to reduce consumer food waste and what could be done to further unlock this potential. By combining global research cutting across multiple disciplines with city case studies, it aims to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to support countries and cities in combating food waste and in ‘Building Back Better’ a more sustainable economy.

Authors:Anne Nygaard Tanner, Barbara Redlingshöfer, Paul Riemann, Simon Bolwig, Ying Zhang
Published year:2021
Content type:Report
File: Download
Orbit ID:50a62062-0250-464c-85ff-a258205f24a6
Publisher:UNEP DTU Partnership
Is current:Current
No. of pages:96