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Mapping method for food loss in the food processing industry

Summary report

In the network ”Mapping method for food loss in the food processing industry” the goal was to develop a method for mapping of food loss, with joint definitions and demarcations.

 

The term 'food loss' was used instead of 'food waste', since 'waste' has unfortunate connotations when used in connection with food. 'Food loss' was defined as “Food that is not suitable for sale at the full price, but is required instead to be sent to various kinds of waste management”.

 

There are many reasons for food loss in the manufacture and processing of food. The 'use by' date allocated to the manufacturer may have been exceeded; the product may have been damaged in the warehouse; it may have been wrongly packaged or labelled; there may have been errors in the production process or the product may not meet the required standard.

 

In order to be able to register the resources that are not being utilised in a process, it may be useful to classify food loss into 2 categories: edible food loss and potentially edible food loss.

 

·      Edible food loss can be defined as process waste or products where the intention has been to manufacture an article of food, but where the product ends up as food loss. There could be several reasons for this. The sell- by date may have been exceeded for full price sale, but the use by date may still be valid. There could also be errors in the packaging or labelling of products or damage to the product in the storehouse.

·      Potentially edible food loss refers to ingredients or products that are unsuitable for full price sale because of production errors, or where the product is not within the specified quality range. An example of this would be a product produced during line change-over.

 

In addition to this there is a third category:  Non-edible food loss. This category comprises ingredients or products which are not suitable for consumption according to today’s food standards.  Examples of this would be peel, skin and bones. Ingredients or products within this category are not to be registered as food loss.

 

Work within the network has succeeded in developing a mapping method for food loss in the food processing industry, which can be used across product groups with set definitions, system boundaries and terminology. The method is in accordance with mapping in different areas of a value chain, and can be used as a guide. The network has contributed to a collective perception of mapping for food loss and has led to comprehensive mapping and other measures within the participant businesses. These participants recommend that the methodology developed for mapping of food loss should be used by other food manufacturers.

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