Preventing nutrient loss and waste across the food system: Policy actions for high-quality diets
This policy brief (PDF) by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Sytems for Nutrition has the key aim to provide advice to policy makers on how to reduce food loss and waste, especially of nutrient-rich foods, for better nutrition security. It analyzes the levels of loss and waste in nutritious foods in different regions of the world, and where those losses occur throughout food value chains. Food loss and waste of nutritious foods needs to be an urgent ‘new’ priority for improving diets and nutrition. Loss and waste both fundamentally aﬀect the availability and aﬀordability of foods which make up healthy diet. However, addressing loss and waste in nutrient-rich foods presents a particular challenge. Foods such as fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, dairy products, meat, fish and seafood are highly perishable and often prone to pests and disease, making them disproportionately susceptible to both loss and waste. The brief comes with six priority areas for action: 1) Educating all food systems stakeholders to prioritize the reduction of food loss and waste, e.g. by sharing information and raising awareness. 2) Taking practical steps for nutrient retention within the food system, by developing a plan that focusses on all parts of the food system, including consumer behaviour. 3) Improving public and private infrastructure for well-functioning and efficient food systems, for example efficient market, storage, cold chain and processing infrastructure. 4) Encouraging innovative solutions to protect nutrients.5) Closing the data gap: improving data collection and analysis, share evidence more effectively and strengthen capacity. 6) Closing the knowledge gap on losses and waste: identify cost-eﬀective interventions; understanding of losses processed and packaged foods in urban diets; consider the role of public actors to embed technologies for reducing loss and waste; and evaluate the impact of post-harvest losses on livelihood and nutrition outcomes. The last two priority areas are also of importance for researchers, scientists and donors.