European Parliament gives green light to food waste targets: Prevent Waste Coalition welcomes targets, but is disappointed with low ambition   


13 Mar 2024

European Parliament gives green light to food waste targets: Prevent Waste Coalition disappointed about low ambition

Brussels, 13 March 2024 – Members of the European Parliament voted on the Waste Framework Directive to raise legally-binding food waste reduction targets to 20% for processing and manufacturing, and 40% for retail, restaurants, and households. 

The Prevent Waste Coalition on food waste remarked that setting the first EU-wide food waste reduction targets confirms political commitment to tackle the environmental and social impacts of food waste. However, the result is at odds with the European Parliament’s previous commitments to slash food waste by 50% from farm to fork; a commitment expressed in the EU Green Deal and UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Coalition is part of a wider group of 65 organisations from 22 countries that signed a joint statement calling EU policymakers to support the 50% reduction target. 

Theresa Mörsen, Waste & Resources Policy Officer, Zero Waste Europe, states:

Almost 10 years ago, the EU and its Member States committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including 50% reduction of food waste across the entire supply chain as outlined by SDG 12.3, but now that the proposal is on the table, decision-makers shy away from decisive action. This is happening against the backdrop of recent reports by the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change that warn against the huge impact food waste has on climate change.” 

Christophe Diercxsens, Global Public Affairs Director, Too Good To Go, underlines:

“Although the European Parliament’s vote today moves us in the right direction, the adopted targets are significantly lower than the EU’s prior commitment to UN SDG 12.3. Ambitious legally-binding food waste reduction targets are essential to bring all countries and all food businesses on board in the fight against food waste, not just a few.” 

The targets do not apply equally to all steps of the food supply chain. Both the Commission proposal and the Parliament position set a far lower target for manufacturing and processing, and completely omit taking action against food losses and waste at farm level. With evidence from Kellogg’s showing that fast reductions are possible in the processing sector, this unequal treatment is not justified. Moreover, Eurostat data shows that at least 11% of food is lost at primary production level. Meanwhile, the majority of food loss has been excluded from the EU measurement of food waste. This urgently needs to be rectified as current best estimates suggest that up to 90 million tonnes – 60% of EU food waste – could occur on farms. 

Antonio De Carluccio, Policy & Project Officer, Safe Food Advocacy Europe, states:

“It is inconsistent and unfair for processing and manufacturing to be assigned far lower targets than other sectors, especially given the ample evidence that manufacturers are equally capable of food waste reduction. We therefore recommend that the targets for the manufacturing sector be raised to match those of other sectors. This adjustment ensures that manufacturers contribute equitably to the EU’s efforts to combat food waste. That being said, we saw a strong political statement by some groups today who lent their support to a 50% target, signalling a promising alignment with SDG 12.3.”

Frank Mechielsen, Director, Feedback EU, points out:

“Excluding primary production from binding food waste targets is harmful not only to sustainability efforts, but also farmers. This will only increase the likelihood that food waste will be pushed onto farmers via cosmetic rejections, unfair contracts, and order cancellations, at a time when many farmers suffer crippling costs due to food waste caused by retailer practices. Including farms in the targets, and expanding the scope of measurement to cover unharvested food waste, would raise pressure to reform these practices so farms can get more of their produce to market.”

Members of the Prevent Waste Coalition on food waste now put their hopes on Member States to honour their previous commitment to the SGD 12.3 and support a binding target of 50% reduction from farm to fork.




Notes to Editors

A group of NGOs and progressive businesses, the Prevent Waste Coalition, consisting of Zero Waste Europe, the European Environmental Bureau, Too Good To Go, Feedback EU, and Safe Food Advocacy Europe, has campaigned jointly over the past months and raised awareness with policymakers about the importance of aligning EU targets with the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

Champions 12.3, an international coalition of executives from governments, businesses, and civil society leading global food waste action, recommends that states should interpret the SDG 12.3 target as a 50% reduction in all food losses and waste from farm to fork, including ‘food losses’ [i.e. pre-retail food waste], not just food waste at the retail/consumer-level.

In 2017, the European Parliament voted consistently with this Champions 12.3 recommendation when it called on Member States to “take the measures required to achieve a Union food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030”, covering “the whole supply chain, including in primary production, transportation, and storage”. The recent Parliament vote therefore represents a significant watering down of the Parliament’s position.

Zero Waste Europe ENVI Committee vote press release: “Waste Framework Directive: proposal to tackle food and textile waste only slightly improved by European Parliament’s committee” [Published 14 February 2024]: 

ZWE feedback to the proposal for a targeted revision of the Waste Framework Directive [Published 30 November 2023]: 

Feedback EU’s briefing on food waste [Published September 2022]: 

Joint statement from Prevent Waste Coalition: “Statement on EU legally binding targets to reduce food waste” [Published 20 September 2022]:,waste%20by%2050%25%20by%202030

Proposal for a targeted revision of the Waste Framework Directive [Published 5 July 2023]: 


Press contacts 


Sean Flynn, Media Outreach & Communications Officer at Zero Waste Europe, [email protected] or [email protected] / +32 471 96 55 93

Theresa Mörsen, Waste & Resources Policy Officer, [email protected] 

Christophe Diercxsens, Global Public Affairs Director at Too Good To Go, [email protected] 

Daemon Ortega, Policy & Project Officer at Safe Food Advocacy Europe, [email protected]

Maximilian Herzog, EU Advocacy Officer, Feedback EU, [email protected] 


About Zero Waste Europe 

Zero Waste Europe is a European network of communities, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards the elimination of waste in our society. Advocating for sustainable systems and the redesign of mankind’s relationship with resources, they accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and the planet. 

About Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is a certified B Corp social impact company that connects users with partners to rescue unsold food and stop it from going to waste. With 90 million registered users and 155,000 active partners across 17 countries, Too Good To Go operates the world’s largest marketplace for surplus food. Since its launch in 2016, Too Good To Go has helped to save over 300 million meals from going to waste, the equivalent to 810,000 tonnes of CO2e avoided.

About Feedback EU

Already in 2013, Feedback Global was founded in the United Kingdom to create a food system that nourishes both people and our planet. In 2022, Feedback EU was established to broaden Feedback Global’s impact in Europe, and strengthen the involvement with EU food policy development & civil society coalitions. In its work, Feedback especially focuses on EU governments & institutions, supermarkets, livestock companies, and investors.
Feedback: Feeding People, Backing the Planet ( 

About Safe Food Advocacy Europe

SAFE – Safe Food Advocacy Europe is currently the only Brussels-based NGO specialised in the protection and representation of EU consumers in the food sector. SAFE aims to ensure that consumers’ health and concerns remain at the core of the EU’s food legislation, and its mission includes strengthening the voice of civil society in European food legislation and increasing public awareness of food safety issues. This is achieved through advocacy and lobbying campaigns, publications, working groups, trainings, and more.