Will Poland follow in France’s footsteps? How to tackle food waste

| Foreign Markets |

According to Eurostat data on food waste in Europe, as much as a few million of food is wasted in Poland each year! At present our country takes the 5th place on the list of EU nations wasting the most food. Only the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands are ahead of Poland in the ranking.

Poll results

In a poll commissioned by the Federation of Polish Food Banks and conducted by Millward Brown in 2014, about 35% of participants confessed they threw food away. A sound 85% of Poles realized that the practice was very costly and wasteful.

Nearly 71% of the poll participants were aware that wasting food had a negative impact on the natural environment. In the opinion of 66% of them, throwing away food which had not been eaten led to an overall increase of food prices.

The core of the problem

Interestingly enough, individual consumers proved the group of the society which wasted the most food. However, both in Poland and France the problem also concerned companies from the grocery sector, and the current reasons for the situation are worth looking into. The most prominent ones include:
• Inefficient distribution system,
• Mistakes in waste management,
• Marketing strategy of retail chains, encouraging the customers to purchase excessive amounts of food at an attractive price.

Food waste is a real problem, and a serious one, as well. What is more, Poles recognize the social impact of throwing away groceries. It has a negative impact on the economy, and increases the incidence of malnourishment in the world.

It is debated in Poland whether the lawmakers should follow the example of some developed countries, namely France. The authorities in Paris voted in a ban on food waste, which is due to take force in June 2016. The shops and supermarkets which disregard the ban could face fines of up to 75,000 euro, and the persons responsible – up to 2 years of imprisonment. Damaged items and food whose expiry date has passed ought to be handed over to charities rather than thrown away.

Poles in favor of the change

Some research conducted by experts recently has indicated that Poles support changes in policy on providing food security: 84% of the polled people declare that food which has not been sold should be given to charitable organizations. Polish citizens declare that knowing that a given shop donates unsold food to the poor might impact their shopping patterns.