The scientific paper titled “Towards transparent valorization of food surplus, waste and loss: Clarifying definitions, food waste hierarchy, and role in the circular economy” got recently cited in the European Commission’s brief on food waste in the European Union.
Written by Dominika Alexa Teigiserova, Marianne Thomsen (Aarhus University) and Lorie Hamelin (INSA), this study adresses the key gaps of food waste prevention in the context of the emerging circular economy. The study reviews and clarifies current terminology related to food waste, in particular, the terms food surplus, waste and losses. This work further highlights why the clarity of these definitions is crucial for the sustainability of future food waste management systems, especially in the context of circular economy. Based on the findings, an updated pyramid for food waste hierarchy is proposed, distinguishing surplus food and a new category for material recycling, in order to reflect the future food waste biorefineries in the circular bioeconomy.
Exactly this updated food waste hierarchy pyramid was the part of the study which was adopted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC)’s recently published Brief. This Brief on food waste in particular is one out of a series of Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre briefs which intend to provide independent evidence for EU policy in this field.