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European Approach for Reducing Consumer Food Waste

European Approach for Reducing Consumer Food Waste

Putting Insights in Practice
"Fighting against the terrible scourge of hunger means also fighting waste." Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Members of the European Food Banks Federation, Consistory Hall, Saturday, 18 May 2019

Published by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences a new book deals with the reduction of food loss and waste globally. It includes an article that sums up results of the EU research project REFRESH, and in particular the work on policies to reduce consumer food waste, lead by the Ecologic Institute. The book is available for download.

The book "Reduction of Food Loss and Waste" [pdf, 2.3 MB, English] developed in a follow up of the Vatikan's Food Waste reduction Conference held at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City, 11 and 12 November 2019.

The article written by Toine Timmermans, Stephanie Wunder and Erica van Herpen "A European Approach for Reducing Consumer Food Waste; Putting Insights in Practice" summarizes the REFRESH findings on the causes and potential solutions to cut consumer food waste. It concludes that policy makers should set up more social norm campaigns to change consumer behaviour, as the evidence does not support the common assumption that providing information is sufficient to induce behavioural change. It also provides insights on how a social norm campaign was implemented in the Netherlands.

Finally, efforts to combat food waste at the household level, which focus on individual behaviour, need to be accompanied by a systems-perspective: Policies and projects against food waste need to develop a more general shift towards a more sustainable and resilient food system.


Timmermans, T., Wunder, S. and van Herpen, E., 2020. European Approach for Reducing Consumer Food Waste; Putting Insights in Practice. In: J. von Braun, M. Sánchez Sorondo and R. Steiner, ed., Reduction of Food Loss and Waste. Proceedings of a Conference held at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City, November 11-12, 2019. [online] Vatican City: The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, pp.62-70. Available at: http://www.pas.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/pas_sv147.pdf [Accessed 8 December 2020].

Toine Timmermans
Erica van Herpen
9 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

1. Enacting policy to drive food waste reduction
2. Influencing factors of consumer behaviour
3. Policy instruments to influence consumer food waste
3.1. Social norm campaigns
3.2. Education and provision of skills
3.3. Feedback, prompts and personal commitments
3.4. Regulation
3.5. Economic instruments
3.6. Nudging
3.7. Strategies and Voluntary Agreements
4. Evaluation of interventions
5. Integrated policies to reduce consumer food waste
6. Dutch case study, Social Norm campaign as pillar in a systemic approach at national scale

food loss, food waste, Vatican, policy, food, agriculture, consumer behaviour, Europe