Let’s reduce consumer food waste! Solutions from the European Consumer Food Waste Forum

On June 5, 2024, Brussels hosted the “Let’s Reduce Consumer Food Waste! Solutions from the European Consumer Food Waste Forum,” a significant event that brought together 150 key stakeholders on-site and an additional 300 participants online. The gathering was dedicated to tackling consumer food waste.

The event drew representatives from various sectors, including public and private entities, local, regional, and national authorities, businesses, as well as consumer and environmental NGOs, food banks, charities, and universities. Attendees exchanged insights on the latest initiatives aimed at changing consumer behaviours and discussed how the forum’s outcomes could support their respective missions.

The interactive format of the conference facilitated knowledge sharing and networking among participants and experts. During the latter part of the program, parallel sessions on specific topics provided a platform for leading experts to share their experiences and engage with attendees, with valuable input from the ToNoWaste project and numerous other related initiatives.

Feedback from Food Waste Prevention Experts

CUINATUR, a key partner in the ToNoWaste project, contributed its expertise to the discussion on Actions to reduce consumer food waste in schools and universities, as presented by Mr. Matteo Vittuari, Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Bologna, presented key findings during this session.

When discussing the role of educational institutions in addressing food waste, Mr. Vittuari underscored the challenges posed by the dynamic environment of schools, emphasizing the necessity for careful planning to implement changes effectively. He noted the significant role schools play in influencing attitudes towards food waste, particularly among younger generations. Mr. Vittuari emphasized that collaboration among stakeholders—teachers, caterers, students, and parents—is essential to foster a collective effort in tackling food waste.

He also emphasized that their discussions had highlighted the importance of innovative approaches, such as using educational technologies to engage younger audiences through gamification and strategic decision-making.

CUINATUR: Advocating Against Food Waste at the Forum

CUINATUR, a pivotal partner in the ToNoWaste initiative, travelled from Valencia, Spain to attend the event in Brussels. As a school canteen management company overseeing approximately thirty school canteens with their own on-site kitchens, CUINATUR prepares a total of 8,500 menus daily. At the forum, CUINATUR emphasized the crucial role of educational environments in raising awareness about the environmental impact of food waste.

CUINATUR colleagues representing the ToNoWaste project at the Forum

Felix S. Beltrán, representing CUINATUR at the Forum, underscored the significance of food waste in their sector: ‘Given our educational context, we have both the obligation and the opportunity to raise awareness among young people about the serious environmental and social impacts it generates,’” explained CUINATUR’s representative.

CUINATUR actively contributes to the ToNoWaste project’s pilot program, focusing on optimizing supply chain logistics. “Our approach to addressing waste begins with prevention,” S. Beltrán elaborated. “For example, when preparing menus, we adjust recipe quantities to fit each school’s needs, allowing cooks to review and modify orders through our management system.”

Presentation by Felix S. Beltrán on behalf of CUINATUR.

Within the ToNoWaste framework, CUINATUR identifies critical areas to prevent and reduce food waste, striving for effective and sustainable solutions that minimize losses and ensure efficient resource management from economic, social, and environmental perspectives.