Reduction of fruits and vegetables loss along the marketing chain in Israel

Wastage of food causes economic, resources, environmental and social concerns. In reference to the global food crisis, the common assumption is that it is possible to reduce the rate of food loss by half, and by means of this action alone feed 1-2 billion more people. In Israel, the financial damage from food loss was recently estimated at approximately 18 billion Nis a year, where about 44% of the total foods lost are fruits and vegetables.

This study, the first of a three years study in collaboration with the Volcani Institute and the University of Haifa for the Ministry of Agriculture, focuses on studying and preventing loss throughout the stages of the production and marketing chain of agricultural products: during harvest, storage, classification and packing, food processing, and marketing, and in the consumers’ homes. Each of the partners is responsible for a particular stage in the supply chain.

In the first year of the study, we reviewed successful international campaigns to reduce food waste in general and particularly at the retail chain store level. These campaigns attempt to promote appropriate reference to expiration dates, encouraging the consumption of "ugly" fruits and vegetables, encourage the donation of surplus food to the needy, and educate for reasonable and sustainable consumption.

We identified key principles, which offered a basis for further ways and solutions for reducing losses of fruits and vegetables and reducing the food waste problem through education, campaigns to raise awareness and change consumer behavior patterns, and more. In addition, we recommend a review of the suggested protocols and practices in retail chains stores that unfortunately, encourage waste.

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