Ellen Codd, Amsterdam office, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
Dutch consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the amount of food wasted every year, and retailers are following suit with measures to prevent food waste. Over 40 kg of food per person is thrown away in the Netherlands. In 2018, the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food, an initiative of Wageningen University and Research, announced its target of reducing food waste throughout the entire food chain by 50% by 2030. To achieve this goal, the task force and the foundation Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling (together against food waste), is encouraging collaboration throughout the food chain, from multinationals and retailer to the end consumers.
Companies such as Ahold Delhaize, McDonalds, and Unilever have committed to releasing an annual report on food usage, while retailers including Jumbo, Albert Heijn, and Dekamarkt have announced collaborations with Too Good to Go, which helps retailers and restaurants sell food that would otherwise have been wasted through at a reduced price through an app.
This month, Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling, supported by Dutch food bloggers and chefs, launched the #verspillingsvrij (waste-free) campaign, encouraging consumers to reduce their food waste. Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling offers these tips to cut down on your own food waste:
• Check your inventory. Look in your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what should go first. Determine what you will eat based on this.
• Make a schedule. What will you eat this week? And who will eat it? Put what you need on a shopping list and also note the quantities. Find recipes here.
• Cook exactly enough. For example, weigh pasta for 3 people.
• Keep an eye on the best-before date and prepare products on time. You can often eat a product with a best before the date even after the date. Look, smell and taste to assess the quality.
• Set your fridge at 4 ºC. Bacteria hardly have a chance and food stays good longer. Use a refrigerator thermometer.
• Store food in the right place. Tomatoes have a longer shelf life outside of the fridge, apples in the fridge. For storage advice, check the Yes-No Fridge sticker.