International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

Food waste mountain
International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste 2022. Image from Livsmedelsverket.

Today is the UN’s International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, but for the Swedish CPG and Foodservice industry, the fight against food waste goes on all year round. Recent examples show that the use of GS1 standards can reduce food waste by 18-40%.

For the third time, the UN is marking the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. According to the National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket), 35 kilos of food per person are unnecessarily thrown away in each household every year, and global figures from the UN show that approximatly;

  • 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail
  • 17% of total global food production is wasted.
  • Food waste accounts for 38% of total energy usage in the global food system.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste aims to call for action and innovation from authorities and the private sector on food waste around the world.

GS1 standards reduce food waste

To control food waste and loss, companies in the food industry need to take control of the information in their supply chains. GS1 standards and services help these companies build robust and traceable food management systems by;

  • globally unique identities,
  • correct product information,
  • dynamic 2D barcodes,

… and data sharing that gives companies better control over purchasing, deliveries and best-before date management.

Recent examples include Australian grocery chain Woolworths, which recently achieved up to a 40% reduction in food waste thanks to its use of dynamic 2D barcodes (QR and Data Matrix). This means that the 2D barcode contains dates that facilitate handling based on the expiry date.

A closer example is the Norwegian retailer Meny, which reduced food waste by 18% in economic value, by introducing dates in the barcode of selected products.

Better information for consumers

In order to avoid mishandling that leads to food being thrown away, consumers also need more information on how to store and handle food in the best possible way, so that it does not risk becoming food waste. There are new opportunities that give the consumer more product information about the product via mobile scanning where 2D codes are combined with GS1 Digital Link.

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