Higher food prices would help fight food waste

A quarter of Dutch consumers would reduce waste to almost zero if food prices doubled

If food prices were twice what they are now, 24% of Dutch consumers would throw away hardly any food. This is the conclusion of research published today that was commissioned by Natuur & Milieu and Rabobank and conducted by Motivaction. It is being presented in conjunction with a joint Natuur & Milieu and Rabobank food waste campaign being launched today at De Verspillingsfabriek (The Waste Factory) in the Netherlands.

‘Based on these figures, we can conclude that higher food prices provide a strong incentive for wasting much less food,’ says Natuur & Milieu spokesperson Talitha Koek. ‘Food prices are relatively low in the Netherlands compared to our neighbouring countries. This is why we’re calling for “real prices” for food that figure in the environmental costs and ensure farmers fetch a fair price for their products. This also has the added advantage of reducing food waste.’

2.5 billion worth of food wasted annually

Dutch consumers throw away 2.5 billion euros worth of edible food every year. This equals 150 euros per person (source: Milieu Centraal). Dutch consumers throw away a total of 800 million kilos of food annually and as a result waste three megatonnes of CO2. If home food waste were eliminated, CO2 emissions per Dutch consumer would fall by 1.5%. This is equal to the emissions of more than one million automobiles.

Food: 11% of income, expectation is higher

Figures from the Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation (Voedingscentrum) show that Dutch consumers spend an average of around 11% of their net income on food. More than half of the respondents, however, think this percentage is actually at least twice that amount. Many respondents estimate that they spend 20 to 30% of their income on food. ‘There is also scope based on these figures for raising food prices. The Netherlands is among the bottom of the class worldwide when it comes to the percentage of income consumers spend on food,’ says Koek.

Smaller packaging

The main reasons given for throwing away food is that it no longer smells/tastes/looks good (54%), is past the best-before date (30%) and too much has been cooked (25%). The most frequently stated solutions for reducing food waste are: smaller packaging (44%), using shopping lists (33%) and better information on the best-before date (24%).

‘Rabobank can as an organisation make a modest contribution towards reducing food waste. As a global food and agri bank, we can have a real impact by financing solutions across the entire F&A chain. We can also make a difference by collaborating with sustainable frontrunners such as De Verspillingsfabriek and social partners,’ says Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank . De Verspillingsfabriek makes soup from leftover food.

About the research

Natuur & Milieu and Rabobank commissioned Motivaction to conduct a representative sample survey of 788 Dutch consumers between the ages of 18 and 70. The survey is representative in terms of education, age, gender, region and value orientation. Motivaction is an independent research agency. It is a member of MOA, Center for Information Based Decision Making & Marketing Research and is part of the Research Keurmerkgroep (Seal Research Group).

Contact information:
Natuur & Milieu
Jolanda van Zwieten, 06 46843537, e-mail: j.vanzwieten@natuurenmilieu.nl

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