PhD thesis – Reducing food waste improving food and nutrition security?

For the past months, my PhD thesis has gone from, writing about indigenous knowledge, to reducing food waste, to improving Food and nutrition security, to governance of food value chains, and eventually full circle to , ‘lets do it all”

The question then is, is food waste a hot topic, and when did it become so contested?

Food loss/waste

  • EU: 89 million tons/year
  • NL: 20% of food value
  • WRI: 25% calories lost
  • 1 billion people are undernourished
  • FAO-UN: 60% more food needed in 2050

These are numbers, and we know how the world loves numbers, the development world especially, but what is the implication of these numbers on small scale holder farmers and on the consumer in both the developing and developed world?

Seeing how connected our food systems are, i am of the view that we cannot continue to look at food waste as if in isolation, ie as if it is something that is only happening in the West. It is not as black and white, people in one part of the world are starving, while the other half are wasting food

Waste comes in different forms, farmers in sub sahara africa experience food waste through poor post harvest handling of food, while consumers in the West simply waste food (again, not as black and white). Either way, the latter need to be informed as to how they can make smarter choices in their shopping habits, how they can exercise their power to reduce waste at household and personal level

This week’s blog posts will come food waste at retail and consumer level


Chick, S; Branke, J; Schmidt, C.: “Sequential Sampling to Myopically Maximize the Expected Value of Information”. Informs Journal on Computing 22(1), 2010, S. 71-80

The current objective of the EU is to reduce avoidable food waste by 50% in 2020/2025. It is anticipated that newly set non-binding objectives in the Communication on Sustainable Food will be in the order of 30% reduction by 2025.


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