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Food waste at Dutch supermarkets improves as 98.4% reached consumers

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Dutch supermarkets decreased their food waste by 3.6 percent between 2018 and 2020. In 2020, 98.4 percent of supermarkets’ food products were sold. Only 1.6 percent, expressed in kilograms, did not reach consumers, Wageningen University & Research found in a study for the central office for food trade CBL and the Ministry of Agriculture. 

Fresh bread and other bakery items were most often wasted in 2020, with 7.8 percent never reaching consumers (7.7% in 2018). 2.4 percent of fresh meat and fish and fresh fruit and vegetables were wasted, compared to 2.9 and 2.7 percent respectively in 2018. And 1.2 percent of dairy, eggs, and refrigerated ready-to-eat products were wasted (1.4 percent in 2018).

Despite the higher sales resulting from restaurant closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, the amount of food waste clearly decreased compared to 2018, Toine Timmermans of the Together Against Food Waste Foundation said. “This shows that the various waste-free initiatives by supermarket organizations in 2019 and 2020 are bearing fruit.”

Wageningen University & Research studied five Dutch supermarket chains – Albert Heijn, Aldi, Jumbo, Lidl, and Plus. Together, they cover almost 80 percent of the Dutch market. 

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