Today we release our final report in the Food Loss and Waste (FLW) series at an event with Min Simmonds hosted by New Zealand Food Waste Champions.

An astonishing 40% of food produced globally is wasted each year. In our last major project, we have been exploring why this is the case and what we can do about it in our context in Aotearoa, writing five reports along the way (which are available here). Today, with thanks to host New Zealand Food Waste Champions (NZFWC), we released the final two reports which focus on food loss and waste prevention and summarise the series respectively.

Guided by more than 500 experts and stakeholders across the motu, we have made 26 recommendations to the government. Addressing the social, environmental, and economic costs of lost and wasted food will require a coordinated effort from a broader set of stakeholders so we were delighted to be able to release the report at an NZFWC event with representatives of more than 50 of New Zealand’s large food businesses.

Our key message is the importance of taking a system-wide view of the issue. Food loss and waste happen at all stages of the food supply chain, from paddock to plate, requiring diverse solutions that drive change within sectors and at a systems level. Consumers have an important role to play, but more needs to be done to understand how decisions across the wider supply chain influence food waste at all stages.

As we lay out in our vision, we believe avoidable food waste can be prevented and unavoidable food waste can be used sustainably. Throughout this mahi, we have encountered people and businesses doing amazing work to prevent, redistribute, and transform wasted food, driven by innovative business models, a strong social mission, and creative application of existing and cutting edge technologies. With a strategic approach, these efforts can be coordinated and translated into a more sustainable food system with minimal lost and waste food.