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The new methodologies to assess the impact of food losses are ready!


One of the main objectives of the FOLOU project is to provide new tools and methods to measure and estimate the magnitude of food losses at the primary production stage for five commodity groups: (i) grain and pulses, (ii) fruits and vegetables, (iii) root tubers and oil crops, (iv) meat and animal derived products and (v) fish. This will be carried out both at regional or state level, and in aggregate at EU level. A substantial methodological improvement in this area will allow a better assessment of the impact (environmental, economic and social) that food losses during the primary production phase have on: (i) food insecurity and malnutrition, (ii) GHG emissions and the creation of pressure ecosystems and biodiversity, and (iii) economic losses.

Primarily, our attention is directed towards quantifying the amount of food losses generated at primary production stage by adapting the work done by the Joint Research Center (JRC) under “Building a balancing system for food waste accounting at National Level”. The approach considered for quantifying food losses is aligned with the latter work dealing with food waste while conserving the same boundaries and assumptions. Two approaches were delivered: i) How to quantify food losses at primary production stage from available data and ii) quantify the total production losses reflecting food losses additional to other losses resulting on the cultivation of certain crops for other uses that are not for human consumption.

Moreover, within the framework of the FOLOU project, we have successfully developed a comprehensive methodology designed to assess the sustainability of food losses at the primary production stage. Currently, all the environmental impacts are allocated to the commercialized products, however a share of this impacts (specifically ones associated with resources uses) were consumed by the fraction of the food that was lost. The methodology developed within FOLOU will allow the extraction of the impacts associated with the fraction of food losses at primary production stage besides calculating other relevant impacts.

This innovative methodology goes beyond conventional evaluations by considering not only the environmental implications, but also the economic and social dimensions of food loss. By adopting a holistic approach, our methodology enables a thorough examination of the entire lifecycle, from cultivation to harvest, shedding light on the interconnected environmental factors, economic ramifications for stakeholders, and the social aspects that shape and are shaped by these losses. Through the FOLOU project’s dedication to advancing sustainable practices, this methodology serves as a valuable tool for understanding and addressing the challenges associated with food loss, paving the way for informed decision-making and impactful interventions across the food supply chain.