On the occasion of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on Thursday 29 September 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Claude Haagen, and the Managing Director at ILRES, Tommy Klein, presented the results of a study on food waste and the behaviour of Luxembourg households.
The objective of this study was to better understand the determinants of food waste in households.
The study found that:
• 91% of households throw away food products more or less regularly;
• 26% of respondents throw away at least one type of food product at least once a week;
• 60% of households believe that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, food waste has evolved neither positively or negatively;
• 75% of respondents do not know the correct definition of the expiry date;
• 84% of households surveyed believe that an important lever to reduce waste must be broader awareness among the public.
The interpretation of this study is somewhat contradictory: the households surveyed were aware of the problem of food waste and had good intentions, but food waste remains very high in Luxembourg (75% of food waste comes from households, 10% from collective kitchens, 8% from catering, 7% from commerce).
The study also found that food waste was higher in households with children, which is attributed in part to a lack of time to plan meals in advance.
Minister Haagen pointed out that this significant food waste was not the result of intentional behaviour on the part of consumers. Instead, he attributed this trend to incomplete information concerning the transport of fresh products from the supermarket to the home, the interpretation of expiry dates, the correct storage of food and overestimating the real need for products in the case of special offers. "This study allows us to understand the main factors that are at the root of food waste in households, which is essential to define our future actions", he explained.
To reach as many consumers as possible who can join the fight against food waste, the antigaspi.lu website (which is available in four languages, including English) is continually updated in order to present new actions against food waste or inform about the six golden rules to follow to throw away less. These are simple actions aimed at helping everyone to significantly and quickly reduce the amount of food they are throwing away.
For Minister Haagen, it is important to continue to mobilise and raise awareness so that a multitude of players unite in the fight against food waste by consuming more responsibly while contributing to sustainable development.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, which has been organising public awareness campaigns and workshops for children since 2016, will strengthen its information campaigns, particularly with regard to the correct interpretation of expiry dates, starting in December 2022, which is generally a period with a high risk of food waste.