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News | 2021-06-23
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Big profits can be made through cooperation against food waste

One third of all food produced in the world is wasted, according to data from United Nations. In Sweden, more than 1.3 million tonnes of food waste is generated each year, which corresponds to approximately 133 kilos per person. An agreement in the food industry has been working for a year to reduce food waste.

Cooperation for reduced food waste, SAMS, is a voluntary agreement in which actors from the entire food chain and authorities participate.

– An agreement is more flexible than legislation as it can be more easily adjusted and adapted to changing circumstances, says project manager Maria Ahlm at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, where the office for SAMS is located.

The agreement consists of three parts: setting goals to reduce food waste and food waste, measuring and collecting data to find "hotspots" and implementing measures, a cooperation forum where working groups can implement more targeted and cross-industry projects to reduce food waste.

Investing in reduced food waste is cost-effective, according to a study by the World Resources Institute and the British WRAP. Companies save an average of 14 times the investment and society more than 250 times, mainly through reduced household expenses.

Global goal of reducing food waste

The work in SAMS has now been going on for just over a year. The launch of the collaboration took place on 12 March 2020 to emphasize the link to the UN's global sustainability goal 12.3 – which is to halve food waste in the world by 2030.

– The first year has of course been affected by the pandemic, as it has hit the restaurant industry hard, but we have still come a long way. Great focus has been on finding good methods for collecting data on food waste. We have produced guidelines for reporting for dairy products, fish processing and wholesalers, says Maria Ahlm.

The government decided in 2020 on two milestones for 2025: food waste must be reduced by at least 20 percent, and the proportion of food that reaches stores and consumers must increase. These goals and the national action plan "More people do more" for reduced food waste are a benchmark for the work.

More participants are welcome

Around thirty companies, organizations and authorities are members or supporters of SAMS.

– Our success depends on the members' commitment. We need more people to reduce food waste, says Maria Ahlm, who welcomes more people to participate.

Members are Arla, Compass Group AB, Coop, Coor, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Kronfågel, Linas Matkasse, Livsmedelsföretagen, Livsmedelsverket, LRF, Martin & Servera, Menigo, Naturvårdsverket, Norrmejerier, Orkla Foods Sverige, Paulig, Potatisodlarna, Sodexo, Svenska Köttföretagen and Vis Kitaföretagen.

The work is financed by the members, the IVL Foundation and the government assignment for reduced food waste, which is run by the National Food Administration together with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Read more about SAMS in the annual report Opens in new window. and on the website ivl.se/sams Opens in new window.

For more information, please contact:
Maria Ahlm, maria.ahlm@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 67 49

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