Publication: Food Waste Along the Food Chain

Reducing food losses and food waste is attracting growing public attention at the international, regional, and national levels, and is widely acknowledged to contribute to abating interlinked sustainability challenges such as food security, climate change, and water shortage. However, the pattern and scale of food waste throughout the supply chain remains poorly understood, despite growing media coverage and public concerns in recent years. This paper takes stock of available data on food waste and explores policies related to food waste in OECD countries.

Why reduce food waste?

Food waste is seen as an obstacle to achieving food and nutrition security for the millions of undernourished around the world. Furthermore most societies attach an ethical and moral dimension to food waste.

Although, reducing food waste in medium and high income countries may not directly help tackle food insecurity in low income countries, it reduces competition on limited water, land and biodiversity resources; making these resources available for other uses. Edible food that would otherwise be wasted could be redistributed to food insecure populations in local communities in medium and high income countries, and in low income countries alike.

The consumption of water resources and land used for the production of uneaten food remains a challenge to the environment. Food waste is also a major component of waste going into municipal landfills, a significant source of methane. According to the FAO report in 2013,food that is produced but not eaten is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere that makes up food wastage as the third top emitter after the United States and China(FAO, 2013).

Another incentive is economic. Reducing food waste can increase the efficiency of the food supply chain and bring economic benefits, including lower costs for businesses and lower prices for consumers. Business examples exist where innovative production methods turned what would have otherwise been wasted into inputs to new products.

In other cases, the food manufacturing industry or the retail sector is prepared to pay for the removal of surplus food that would be otherwise wasted. New businesses are created that collect, handle and deliver this surplus to food banks. Social innovation plays an important role in initiating such social economy businesses. The importance of reducing food waste in order to increase the efficiency of the food supply chain from the social, environmental and economic points of view was repeatedly raised by participants in the OECD Food Chain Analysis Network in June 2013.

municipal solid waste, grain storage, food value chain, policy information, agricultural losses, food waste, data, food waste reduction, food loss
JEL Classification:
  • Q18: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Agriculture / Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
  • Q53: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
  • Q58: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Government Policy

Click to Access: 

Bagherzadeh, M., M. Inamura and H. Jeong (2014), “Food Waste Along the Food Chain”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 71, OECD Publishing, Paris.


Why differentiating between food loss & food waste matters

Food loss or food waste? Anything but the same, says FAO agri-food economist Stjepan Tanic

FAO agri-food economist Stjepan Tanic walks through the fundamentals: the difference between food loss and food waste, and why it matters for Europe and Central Asia.

Photo:  ©FAO / Louis Wheatley

Food loss and food waste sound like synonyms. What’s the difference?

Imagine how everything we eat travels across a food chain, a complex journey that stretches from farm to fork. FAO studies show that an astounding one third of all the food we produce for human consumption never actually reaches a fork. Whether we categorize uneaten food as “lost” or “wasted” depends on when it falls off the food chain.

Most people have seen food waste in their everyday lives. At the end of the food chain, consumers may throw out excess food, let it spoil, or develop other behaviors that waste food unnecessarily. Food “loss” actually occurs earlier in the food chain and usually behind the scenes. Due to inefficiencies in food production and processing, food can lose nutritional value or even need to be discarded before it reaches the consumer. Both cases are considered food loss.

Look at it this way: more than 40 percent of food losses and waste in developing countries occurs at the post-harvest and processing stages, while in industrialized countries, more than 40 percent of food losses and waste occur at retail and consumer levels.  Understanding when food loss or waste occurs is important because it affects how we build more sustainable food systems.

So you’re not just splitting hairs.

No. In fact, you can actually see the difference across Europe and Central Asia. In general, the European Union and other high-income countries in the region have significantly greater levels of food waste. These countries are launching consumer awareness campaigns and other initiatives to reduce food waste.

Middle- and low-income countries aren’t wasting nearly as much food – in part due to lower supply, lower purchasing power, and less demanding food quality preferences. Instead, they struggle predominantly with food loss issues.

So what are the weak spots in our region’s food value chains?

Farmers and processers are using outdated machinery and technologies, and food production systems remain unorganized and fragmented. The lack of access to specialized equipment for transportation, processing, cooling and storage only adds to the extensive food loss at the harvest, post-harvest and storage stages of the food supply chain.

The private sector has the potential to introduce technologies and practices needed to improve the efficiency of food supply chains and minimize food loss. But in order to promote investment in food loss and waste reduction ventures, governments first need to create stable, low-risk business environments with transparent and consistent regulations.

Policymakers may also consider developing programs that support producer organizations like cooperatives. Encouraging small-scale farmers to cooperate can increase their access to credit and help them deliver their product to new markets as efficiently as possible.

What can Europe and Central Asia do to solve this problem?

Ending consumer food waste in high-income countries doesn’t mean people in low-income countries will suddenly have more to eat. But reducing both loss and waste can increase incomes and improve access to food for vulnerable groups and in at-risk regions.

We can also eliminate the deep environmental footprint of food loss and waste. Every year, the world uses a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River – and adds 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere – just to produce the food that we never eat.

Whether you’re counting kilograms, euros or calories, the threat of food loss and waste is clear and leaders in Europe and Central Asia are intent on making progress. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has addressed this issue and the European Parliament has called for member states to reduce losses and waste by 50 percent by 2025. Meanwhile, FAO will continue to support regional efforts in this arena through the global SAVE FOOD initiative.

09 February, 2015, Budapest, Hungary

find out more:

“Man in the Maze,” – communities working to save the food from waste

February 01, 2015 12:00 am  • 

A key to feeding the hungry of the world can be found in an award-winning documentary filmed in Southern Arizona.

“Man in the Maze,” one of five films to win the Sundance Short Film Challenge,, takes the viewer from the devastating dumping of fruits and vegetables into the Rio Rico landfill to the Borderlands Food Bank in Nogales and on to Southern Arizona communities working to save the food from waste, and to grow their own.

The film, made by New York City-based Greener Media, heavily features Tucsonan Gary Nabhan talking about ways to rebuild food systems. It begins with an aerial scene of the dumping of the produce from Mexico. Red tomatoes, yellow peppers and green cucumbers tumble over the landfill, most looking fresh and eatable. Nogales is the largest inland entry port for fresh produce in the world, Nabhan says in the film, and the third largest port of entry in the country.

“Twenty-five to 30 percent of all the produce that we eat year round comes from the border towns,” Nabhan goes on to say.

“With that is a tremendous amount of food waste, because if the Florida tomato prices drop on a certain day, 120,000 pounds might be thrown into a landfill just because of the pricing.”

As the co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, Nabhan is also helping farmers plan for the uncertainties of climate change. He emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sustainable farming. Nabhan writes, “We must not attempt to imitate, but instead emulate, what traditional desert peoples have learned about living with climatic uncertainty. Take inspiration, not recipes.”

The filmmakers, Phil Buccellato and Jesse Ash, follow some of the food that is spared from the landfill and distributed through the Borderlands Food Bank. They also talk to residents of the rural town of Amado who feel passionately about growing their own food for their families and their community.

Ash and Buccellato, who through Greener Media produce works that address social issues, worked closely with Food Tank, a food think tank with programs and a presence around the world.

When the filmmakers heard about the Sundance competition, underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and geared toward addressing such issues as poverty and hunger, they brainstormed with Food Tank. They found out about Nabhan, one of the founders of Native Seeds/SEARCH, an author, food advocate and 1990 winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant. They were convinced they found the subject of their documentary.

Then they landed in Southern Arizona.

“I think this story unraveled in a way that wasn’t expected,” says Buccellato in a phone interview with the Star. “I wouldn’t have expected to do the Rio Rico landfill. You reach out to one person, and they refer another, and another.”

That referral chain resulted in a poignant interview with Christina Natalini, a mother who is teaching her young daughter to grow her own food; another with Arturo Lopez, who maintains a community garden in Amado, and another interview with the people at The Avalon Organic Gardens, a community-supported agriculture program in Tumacácori.

“This is an important story that impacts billions around the world — how do we sustainably feed a growing population,” says Ash.

The Sundance Institute’s Mike Plante says about 1,300 films had been submitted for the competition, which has five winners — each pocketing $10,000. Those initial entries were culled down to about 15, which were then sent to the Gates Foundation for the final selection.

“Quality factors in, but most important to us was what the story was,” says Plante. Ash and Buccellato “took on a very gigantic issue and overwhelming problem and boiled it down to a story,” says Plante. “They told the story with style and information.”

“The documentary has great power to change the conversation about the issues,” says Buccellato. “If we can be a catalyst for someone to make a donation, or get involved in some level, that would be greatly satisfying.”

Food loss is the blindspot in our fight against hunger

But we already knew that, right?

Food loss is and can be both voluntary and involuntary, meaning we either cause it knowingly or circumstances that we live in mean that we lose food to climate change or back luck, yes, there is something like bad luck in farming too

Food loss/food waste is the blindspot in our fight against hunger, and farmers in the developing world experience food loss through post harvest handling. Poor handling and lack of proper storage means that most food is wasted even before it gets to the market. Supposedly, a whooping 64% of food is lost before it gets to market despite the fact that technological solutions are available. This is both tragic and unnecessary. Technological solutions? are these evenly distributed, who can afford these solutions especially if they are electronic, and are there cheaper solutions?

Men harvest rice in Nanan, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

The global food system already produces enough food for everyone. But 24% of all calories destined for human consumption never end up in tummies, according to the World Resources Institute. In the developing world 64% of food is lost before it is processed or transported to markets. In sub-Saharan Africa alone this costs farms $4bn a year. In a world where 800 million people are undernourished this is both tragic and unnecessary.

Rich countries waste food, while poor countries lose it. In Africa politics, policies, and climate change all affect food production and availability, where periodic droughts and political upheavals have left millions hungry. These are long-term problems that will require long-term solutions. But there are concrete steps we can take right now to bolster Africa’s food security, starting with proven technological interventions.

Basic solar-powered processing equipment can be transformative. Every day in markets across Africa fruits wilt and rots under the blazing sun. That same sun can power a cold room or a mango juice plant owned and staffed vendors.

At Malo, a social enterprise founded to mill, fortify and market rice cultivated by local smallholder farmers in Mali, we are looking at proposals to use solar energy to power equipment which could reduce food loss. Elsewhere in Mali, cattle farmers are using solar energy to power refrigerators to store their milk.

Given that the biggest food losses occur on farms, this is where we should begin to solve the problem. For subsistence farmers, support and advice from farmer education services and farming cooperatives improves their ability to withstand economic and climate shocks and maximize their potential.

New and existing cooperatives need to make modern harvesting tools and robust crop disease and pest management systems standard offerings for their members. These improvements would bolster traditional benefits of cooperatives, such as reducing input costs, increasing market access, and obtaining more favorable credit terms.

For commercial farms, regardless of size, putting trained and motivated employees on the team is essential. However, finding qualified workers is a challenge that needs to be overcome.

Creating schools and incubators with curricula and programmes that educate farm workers, farm managers, and farm owners can both address the challenge of ensuring universal education while providing career opportunities for young people. A better educated farm workforce would be better able to prevent or mitigate food loss whether it is by identifying crop diseases early and knowing how to treat them or planning and executing appropriate logistics and distribution operations.

To be sure, tackling the issue of food loss is costly, complex and requires more than just training farm workers and leveraging solar energy. With a growing middle class in Africa, it is essential that the food saved by modernising supply chains doesn’t end up in being thrown away by businesses and consumers, whose consumption habits often mimic those of the developed world.

As soon as that begins to happen we must work to reduce grocery and household food waste. We should investigate the potential of Fenugreen’s Fresh Paper, a spice-infused paper said to increase the shelf life of produce.

Taken together, small improvements at farms and in the kitchen can achieve real results and cut food waste and food loss across the developing world.

Increasing yields and bringing more land under cultivation will remain important to feeding a growing population. But ensuring we eat everything we already grow could quickly reduce the burden we place on our planet as we figure out longer term strategies for coping with climate change and other food security threats.

As 2015 approaches and world leaders begin to think about how to implement the sustainable development goals on hunger, they could do much worse than adopt this mantra: to feed the world tomorrow, let’s eat what we grow today.

How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change

Producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gases than most entire countries do.

reblogged from national geographic food series

Picture of workers harvesting celery in Greenfield, California

Workers harvest celery in Greenfield, California. The energy that goes into the production, harvest, transportation, and packaging of wasted food produces more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

More than a third of all of the food that’s produced on our planet never reaches a table. It’s either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers in wealthier countries, who typically buy too much and toss the excess. This works out to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food, worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices.

Aside from the social, economic, and moral implications of that waste—in a world where an estimated 805 million people go to bed hungry each night—the environmental cost of producing all that food, for nothing, is staggering. (Read more about causes and potential solutions to the problem of food waste.)

The water wastage alone would be the equivalent of the entire annual flow of the Volga—Europe’s largest river—according to a UN report. The energy that goes into the production, harvesting, transporting, and packaging of that wasted food, meanwhile, generates more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China. (Read about the author who’s waging a war against global food waste.)

John Mandyck, the chief sustainability officer of United Technologies, a U.S.-based engineering and refrigerated transport firm, says that food waste can be mitigated by improving the “cold chain,” which comprises refrigerated transport and storage facilities. His company hosted the first World Cold Chain Summit in London last November. This week, Mandyck is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Summit, where he’s talking up the problem of food waste. He answered questions via e-mail from Davos.

Why does the issue of food waste seem to slip below the radar?

We tend to take our food for granted in the developed world. Since food is so plentiful, we aren’t aware of the tremendous amount that’s wasted and the impact that has on world hunger, political stability, the environment, and climate change. Yet when it comes to looking for ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions, food wastage is a relatively easy fix—the low-hanging fruit, so to speak—and it is literally rotting on our tables. It doesn’t require any new technology, just more efficient use of what we already have. (Read about the effort to rethink “use by” labels on food.)

Food could hardly be a more important industry to humanity. Every living thing on the planet depends upon it. And yet a third of what we produce never reaches the table. Why are we so inefficient?

Food wastage comes in two forms. About one-third occurs at the consumer level, where we buy too much and throw it away. Approximately two-thirds happens at the production and distribution level. For example, a lot of food rots in fields, or is lost as a result of poor transportation networks, or spoils in markets that lack proper preservation techniques. We can make a big difference by transporting and storing our food under proper temperature conditions to extend food supplies.

What can we do better? Where should industry’s and governments’ focus be on reducing food wastage?

Governments can enact food safety standards where they don’t exist. This will jump-start the system to properly transport and store perishable foods like meat, fish, dairy, and produce. It will also ensure that more food is safe for consumption. Industry has a role to innovate and scale technologies so they are affordable in the developing economies. Industry can also serve a useful role by raising awareness of the impacts of food wastage.

What would be the dividends?

The dividends of avoiding food waste can be historic. We produce enough food to feed everyone on our planet today and the 2.5 billion more people to come in the next 35 years. We have to waste less to feed more. Farming already uses 38 percent of our ice-free land, compared to just 2 percent for cities, and uses 70 percent of our fresh water. We can’t keep growing more food, and continuing to waste as much, to feed more people. The environmental dividends are no less significant: lower climate emissions from a major source and more water efficiency to combat growing water scarcity.

And at the consumer level?

We can all take small steps that will accumulate to make a meaningful difference. Let’s buy just the food we need so we throw away less. Let’s accept that produce can be top quality and delicious even if it has a slight imperfection in appearance. Let’s bring meals home that we don’t finish in restaurants. Small changes will yield big results.

What exactly is the “cold chain”?

The cold chain is the network that transports and stores perishable foods like meat, fish, dairy, and produce under proper temperature conditions to avoid spoilage. It involves technologies like marine container refrigeration, truck-trailer refrigeration, cold storage warehouses and rooms, and food retail display cases.

Are there clever new technologies that could help improve that chain?

There are effective and affordable technologies to track and monitor food in transit to ensure it’s being maintained within the proper temperature parameters. It’s a proactive way to prevent spoilage at the distribution level. New entry-tier technologies are also being deployed to provide affordable truck refrigeration units for emerging markets like India. On top of that, environmental technologies like the use of natural refrigerants and energy-efficient technologies are lowering the environmental footprint of the cold chain.

How does one make these cold-chain technologies affordable in the poorest countries, where often the need is greatest?

We have to think differently. We can’t take today’s sophisticated refrigerated truck-trailer systems available in the U.S. and Europe and expect they can be immediately adopted in emerging countries. In many cases, the roads in these countries can’t accommodate large truck systems, the technical skill is not yet present to support the systems, and the economy can’t yet afford the systems. So we have to scale the technology to the local needs—smaller systems, fewer features, more affordable.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

author:  Roff Smith for National Geographic

In my opinion, we still haven’t made the connection between ”us” and ”them”, and it is up to you who you put in that category of ”them” or ”us”. Our food systems are connected in more ways than we care to see, no country on earth is self sustaining and as such we depend on each other for many resources, one of these being food. Why then is it that we make remarks like ” i am sure this piece of cheese will not benefit a school kid in africa”. oh, but it does. Perhaps this is not the best example to use, the point being, we cannot talk about food waste in isolation like it only happens in one part of the world. The developing world experiences food waste in the form of post harvest handling, the lack of storage and refigeration systems means alot of food is wasted. This is not voluntary. however buying food from the store (alot more than you can consume) and then going ahead to waste it, is a bit careless. How about having a go at foodsharing or inviting a stranger over for a meal? This way, you make a new friend and maybe avoid food waste?

This year, i am committed to saving as much food as i can from store bins and making a meal to share atleast once a month. I have also joined the foodsaver group to try and reduce waste this year. Will you join me?

Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems

Although accurate estimates of losses and waste in the food system are unavailable, the best evidence to date indicates that globally around one -third of the food produced is lost or wasted along the food chain, from production to consumption.
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition(HLPE) , presents a synthesis of existing evidence about the causes of food losses and waste and suggests action to reduce them in order to improve food and nutrition security and the sustainability of food systems. The report, given the diversity of contexts, is to help all concerned actors to reduce food losses and waste by identifying the causes and potential solutions that may be implemented, alone or in a coordinated way, by the relevant actors in the food system, including the public and private sectors, civil society, individual producers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Successful reduction of food losses and waste will save resources and has the potential to improve food security and nutrition, goals shared with the Zero Hunger Challenge and the post- 2015 sustainable development agenda.
The issue of global food losses and waste has recently received much attention and has been given
high visibility. According to FAO, almost one-third of food produced for human consumption–approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year–is either lost or wasted globally: their reduction is now presented as essential to improve food security and to reduce the environmental footprint of food systems.
The very extent of food losses and waste invites to consider them not as an accident but as an integral
part of food systems. Food losses and waste are consequences of the way food systems function,
technically, culturally and economically. The report analyses food losses and waste in a triple perspective: a systemic perspective, a sustainability perspective, including the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, and a food security and nutrition perspective, looking at how food losses and waste relate to the various dimensions of food security and nutrition.
Main findings – Scope and extent of food losses and waste
1. Food losses and waste have been approached by two different angles: either from a waste
perspective, with the associated environmental concerns, or from a food perspective, with the associated food security concerns. This duality of approaches has often led to confusions on the definition and scope of food losses and waste, contributing to unreliability and lack of clarity of data.
2. The report adopts a food security and nutrition lens and defines food losses and waste (FLW) as
“a decrease, at all stages of the food chain from harvest to consumption,in mass, of food that was originally intended for human consumption, regardless of the cause”.
For the purpose of terminology, the report makes the distinction between food losses,occurring before
consumption level regardless of the cause , and food waste, occurring at consumption level regardless of the cause. It further proposes to define food quality loss or waste (FQLW) which refers to the decrease of a quality attribute of food (nutrition, aspect, etc.), linked to the degradation of the product, at all stages of the food chain from harvest to consumption.
3. There are numerous studies on FLW with diverse scopes and methodologies, making them difficult to compare. At the global level, recent studies use the data compiled for the FAO report published in 2011, which estimated global FLW at one third of food produced for human consumption in mass (equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes per year), or one quarter as measured in calories.
4. The distribution of FLW along the food chain varies greatly by region and product. In middle and
high- income countries, most of the FLW occur at distribution and consumption; in low income
countries , FLW are concentrated at production and post-harvest. Per-capita FLW peaks at 280–
300 kg/cap/year in Europe and North America and amounts to 120–170 kg/cap/year in sub- Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia.
5. Different definitions, different metrics, different measurement protocols and the lack of standards
for data collectionadapted to different countries and products, makes it difficult – and sometimes impossible–
to compare studies, systems and countries. There is also no agreed method to evaluate the quality of data, method and numbers produced. This situation is a huge barrier to understanding and identifying the causes and extent of FLW, the potential for solutions, the priorities for action and the monitoring of progress in reducing FLW. This is why there are currently strong calls for the development of global protocols to measure FLW, taking into account the large number of variables and country specificities, towards a harmonization of definitions and measurement methods, with a view to improve the reliability, comparability and transparency of data
The full report can be found here:
Consumers will have to play a great role in the reduction of FLW. Household waste results from a complex set of drivers and factors such as income level, household size, urbanization,infrastructure,the structure of the food supply chain, food cultures,trust in businesses and institutions(including infood safety regulations), and awareness levels, etc.Reduction of consumer waste will result from more sustainable buying, cooking and eating behaviour. Different type of interventions can support this, such as awareness – raising campaigns, experimental interventions, social community approaches,education of young urban and rural people, and women empowerment. Attempts to restore the true value of food,and to restore consumers’ recognition of how food is produced and valued in the supply chain,will also lead to reduced consumer waste, as rural–urban movements such as the Slow Food presidiums can show, or as “pick and pay” self-picking initiatives demonstrate.
Food waste and loss

Help save the environment simply by wasting less food

As we look for ways to save money on our household bills many of us are not aware that food waste not only hits us in the pocket – but has a serious impact on the environment too.

Producing, distributing, storing and cooking food uses energy, fuel and water. Each of these emits greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Take  a pack of cheese: the resources that go into raising the cows, processing the milk, transporting the cheese, refrigeration, the fuel to drive to the shop to buy it – all this to put it in the bin at the end of the week. In the UK for example, the equivalent of more than three million slices of cheese a day are thrown away!

Imagine if we stopped throwing this food away, it would save the equivalent of at least 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the same as taking 1 in every 4 cars off our roads.

We can all contribute to making a difference.  Love Food Waste has some great solutions on reducing the amount of food we throw away.

  • Planning is everything. Think ahead to what the week has in store – look in the fridge, freezer and cupboard, make a simple list so you only buy what you need and make the most of what you have.
  • Make the most of your fruit and veg. Apples last even longer when you keep them in the fridge – up to two weeks longer if loosely wrapped. And if they’ve had a knock, try putting them in a crumble, a sauce or start the day with a smoothie. If you understand the concept of recycling, to me this is a bit like that, i call it recycling my food. Try to find a way of reusing leftovers either in soups, smoothies, etc
  • Did you know food can be frozen any time before the ‘use by’ date on the label? Then when you have an evening where you don’t feel like cooking, take it out of the freezer, defrost and use within 24 hours.
  • Ever thought of making the most of your potato peelings? Why not sprinkle with salt, pepper, chilli or whatever flavour takes your fancy and pop them in the oven. Free crisps the kids will love!

OR, why not invite a stranger to eat with you incase you have you much and do not want to waste it? is a new-ish venture that is supposed to feel like going over to a friend’s house for dinner, only, the house is abroad and full of complete strangers. It’s pretty much an outlet for people who get bored of eating in restaurants with pictures of the food on sticky laminate menus when they’re holiday.

In the year since it launched, EatWith has become huge in Barcelona—there are 172 events in the city right now, everything from sushi to tapas to Thai—and not-so-big in Sao Paulo, where there are only eight events. Jerusalem is optimistically active on the site, as is Tel Aviv (where it started).

The meals tend to fall into two categories—ones where your hosts teach you something (sushi-making, market tours, the aforementioned guinea pig BBQ) or just the straight up “come over to mine for dinner” (and pay for it via PayPal). – okay, i am not sure about that last bit of paying!

However, we do have a facebook page in Wageningen:

The way it works is, you simply invite people over for dinner, they can bring something like potluck or you make the main  and ask that they contribute dessert or drinks

See, already you are doing your bit to help reduce waste 🙂

Why not explore your kitchen today and see where you might be wasting good food without even realising it, or find out ways to waste less?