World Food – Food Waste/Food Loss Challenge | ISTF 2020

The global food system is characterized by the following most important characteristics:

  • The availability of food and the access to enough and healthy food is not sufficient for hundreds of millions of people.
  • However, global production is currently sufficient. A substantial part of the food produced is not consumed. Food waste and losses are the reason for this.
  • The ecological footprint of the food system is too large. The current resourceuse is not sustainable.
  • Demographic trends up to 2050 and rising prosperity will greatly increase demand, which will further exacerbate today’s problems if no action is taken. Additionally, consumer behaviour change in rising economies, will increase resource scarcity.

While the general challenge for UN  is “Enough food, available and affordable for everyone, in line with population growth, climate change and the need to reduce the ecological footprint”, Challenge 2 will focus on two key failures of the food system: the postharvest losses (Food Losses) and the waste of Food at retail and household level (Food waste); Food losses reduce the available supply, food waste increases demand. Both stress the food system. A reduction in food losses and food waste mitigates future shortages on a global scale and helps to reduce the consumption of natural resources.

The objective of the challenge is to identify adequate behaviour and measures for the Food Losses and Food Waste reduction, as a significant contribution to the sustainability of the future food system. The different situations worldwide must be taken into account.

Food waste: It is about how the required actions can be implemented sustainably. In addition to effective savings, a change in actions means more efforts, such as information procurement, time expenditure, logistics expenditure, comfort losses. The price of food and the availability of attractive digital tools play a decisive role here. It is also important to clarify how the reduction of food waste affects demand and to what extent this improves the availability of food in poorer countries. Since food waste is used in alternative uses, the consequences for these industries will be shown.

Food Losses: It is about how the necessary actions can be implemented sustainably. Reducing food losses requires better storage methods and more efficient processing methods. This requires investments, the financing of which is usually a problem. The professional training of the people concerned also plays a major role. It should be clarified how the reduction of the food loss has an impact on the food system and which measures have to be taken by whom.

Challenger | Dr. Simon Briner | Agricultural Specialist, Biohof Flochen

Educational Background

  • 2003 – 2006    Bachelor of Sciences in Agricultural Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2007 – 2008    Master of Sciences in Agroecosystem Science with Major in Food and Resource Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2009 – 2010    Certificate of Advanced Studies in Counseling, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2008 – 2012    PhD in agricultural Economics, ETH, Institute for Environmental Decision IED, Agri-food and Agrienvironmental Economics Group, Switzerland

Professional Experience

  • 2019 –              Organic Farm Biohof Flochen, Winterthur: Farm Director
  • 2013 – 2019    Federal Office for Agriculture, Berne: Personal advisor of the Director General
  • 2008-2013       ETH Zurich: Research assistant (Research fields: Economics of Ecosystem Goods and Services, Economics of Land-Use)
  • 2006 – 2007    Machinery operator at Precision Harvesters Inc. In Tirau, New Zealand