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Food waste quantification in primary production – The Nordic countries as a case study

Hartikainen, Hanna, Mogensen, Lisbeth, Svanes, Erik, Franke, Ulrika
Waste management 2018 v.71 pp. 502-511
bones, case studies, feeds, food waste, guidelines, humans, primary productivity, rearing, waste management, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Scandinavia, Sweden
Our understanding of food waste in the food supply chain has increased, but very few studies have been published on food waste in primary production. The overall aims of this study were to quantify the total amount of food waste in primary production in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and to create a framework for how to define and quantify food waste in primary production. The quantification of food waste was based on case studies conducted in the present study and estimates published in scientific literature.The chosen scope of the study was to quantify the amount of edible food (excluding inedible parts like peels and bones) produced for human consumption that did not end up as food. As a result, the quantification was different from the existing guidelines. One of the main differences is that food that ends up as animal feed is included in the present study, whereas this is not the case for the recently launched food waste definition of the FUSIONS project.To distinguish the ‘food waste’ definition of the present study from the existing definitions and to avoid confusion with established usage of the term, a new term ‘side flow’ (SF) was introduced as a synonym for food waste in primary production. A rough estimate of the total amount of food waste in primary production in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark was made using SF and ‘FUSIONS Food Waste’ (FFW) definitions. The SFs in primary production in the four Nordic countries were an estimated 800,000 tonnes per year with an additional 100,000 tonnes per year from the rearing phase of animals. The 900,000 tonnes per year of SF corresponds to 3.7% of the total production of 24,000,000 tonnes per year of edible primary products. When using the FFW definition proposed by the FUSIONS project, the FFW amount was estimated at 330,000 tonnes per year, or 1% of the total production.