Addressing food loss and waste in Spain

  • 12/11/2019
  • 1 min reading time
Addressing food loss and waste in Spain
Photo: Pixabay (Couleur)

Researchers at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF, the Universidad de Cantabria, and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, have assessed the nutritional and economic efficiency of food loss and waste throughout the supply chain—food production, industrial processing, manufacturing, packaging, retailing and consumption— of 13 different food categories included in the Spanish food basket.

Published in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, the study has defined a new method that combines two indexes by means of linear programming: the nutrient-rich foods index and the economic food loss and waste index. Through this combined method, scientists have obtained the nutritional cost footprint indicator under a life cycle perspective that has allowed the quantification of the nutritional-economic cost of the daily supply of food for a Spanish citizen in the year 2015.

According to the researchers, results have shown that vegetables and cereals are the food categories most affected by the inefficiencies in the food supply chain under a nutritional perspective, being agricultural production and household consumption the main stages in which the nutritional content of food is lost or wasted. Moreover, according to the nutritional cost footprint indicator, vegetables represent 27% of total nutritional-economic wastage throughout the entire Spanish food chain. They are followed by fruits, which add up to 19%.

As pointed out by the authors, this new method makes it possible to define reduction strategies to promote the use of food waste fractions for waste-to-energy valorization approaches or the extraction of different types of pharmacological, chemical or cosmetic compounds. In this sense, researchers have encouraged the establishment of specific food waste management strategies for these specific products and supply stages.




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