The Gulfood Trade Show, which opens its doors on February 13, is announcing the launch of Gulfood Zero Waste, a global initiative that aims for “a proactive approach to adopting zero-waste initiatives.” This is a key concern, since the fight to reduce food waste affects economic, ethical and environmental issues, and France is a global leader in this struggle.
The numbers can make your head spin: according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s Food Waste Index, 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted every year. Reducing this waste, which represents 10 million tons of food a year in France, will have an impact on three different concerns.
In environmental terms, on a global scale, food waste produces as a high a level of greenhouse gas emissions as a country whose industrial output would put it in third place, behind China and the USA. That is because of the energy required to produce, process, conserve, package and transport the wasted food… It also represents a significant drain on precious natural resources, particularly water.
Next, on an economic level, wasting food is expensive: it costs between €12 and 20 billion a year in France: the equivalent of €159 per person – and that’s only counting household food waste.
And finally, from an ethical and social point of view, throwing food away is unacceptable when you consider that one tenth of the world’s population was undernourished in 2020.
France is in the forefront in the field of fighting food waste (see the article published on 26 Jan. 2021 « France Inn the Forefront in Fighting Food Waste »). It is committed to reducing food waste by 50%, relative to the 2015 level, by the year 2025 in institutional catering, and by 50% by 2030 in production, processing, restaurants and homes.
How food waste is distributed among the different stages of the food-production chain in France:
- 32% in the production phase
- 21% in the processing phase
- 14% in the distribution phase
- 33% in the consumption phase
 Rapport 2021 du PNUE sur l’indice de gaspillage alimentaire https://www.unep.org/fr/resources/rapport/rapport-2021-du-pnue-sur-lindice-du-gaspillage-alimentaire
 Ministère de la Transition Écologique
 « État des masses des pertes et gaspillage alimentaires : état des lieux par étapes de la chaîne alimentaire » – ADEME 2016.
 L’état de la sécurité alimentaire et de la nutrition dans le monde 2021, juillet 2021 par l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture