How is the Netherlands working towards food wastage?


vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and others place on trays

Food waste remains a major issue in the Netherlands. Approximately one-third of all food produced ends up in the garbage bin. In the Netherlands, supermarkets sell an average of 98.3 percent of the food they provide. The remaining 1.7 percent of food (in kilos) does not even reach consumers. These data are based on the study conducted by supermarkets, the Dutch Food Retail Association (CBL), Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality under the umbrella of the national charity Food Waste Free United (Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling). The study further breaks down the proportions of food that is wasted relative to the volume stocked; 7.7% for fresh bread, part-baked bread and pastry; 2.9% for fresh meat and fish; 2.7% for potatoes, vegetables and fruit; and 1.4% for dairy, eggs and chilled convenience products. The Netherlands intends to cut food waste in half by 2030.

Food waste is not only about the food but waste of water, soil, energy and money. To combat this situation, here are some of the initiatives taken by the Dutch.

Also, read our article: Startups in the Netherlands to learn from

Apps to the rescue

Too Good To Go: The app helps hotels, bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets to sell their unsold products and meals at a discounted price. App users can find details of an inexpensive package of ingredients in their neighborhood. They refer to these boxes as ‘Magic Box’ as their content is unknown to the users.

No Food Wasted: The app basically allows supermarkets to post items that are nearing their sell-by date to the app for consumers to view. The consumer may then order them using the app and receive a 35% discount when they pick them up at the grocer.  Customers may also create shopping lists ahead of time and receive reminders when an item is approaching its sell-by date.

ResQ Club: The app helps restaurants to keep the food they spent so much time cooking from being thrown out if it hasn’t been sold. Restaurants post the things they have leftover so that consumers, usually those who do not want to deal with the hassle of cooking, may purchase cheap leftovers and pay with their card via the app. ResQ is presently available in Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.

Innovation at the Restaurants

Instock: The restaurant collects food from local Albert Heijns and other suppliers, such as defective fruits and vegetables, day-old loafs of bread, or surplus meat and fish. Once they are transported to the kitchen in their electric van, the chefs come in, look at the items they have to work with, and create the meal by improvising with kilograms of salvaged food.

They do not prepare expired goods since it is against the law. As a result, 80 percent of their dishes are made from food that would otherwise go to waste, while the remaining 20 percent are made from purchased ingredients such as milk.

Food Banks

The Netherlands has food banks across the country to support households that are in need. The Vereniging van Nederlandse Voedselbanken or Association of Dutch Food Banks are two of the Food Banks.

Going forward, it is important for us to understand and learn different ways of how we can reduce food wastage and contribute to society and become more vigilant of our kitchen.

Also, read our article: Startups in the Netherlands to learn from

Editor’s note : This article is written on 28 September 2021, therefore the information is as per the date. Image credits: Unsplash

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