Germans waste too much food, report finds | News | DW | 13.03.2012
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Germans waste too much food, report finds

Germans unnecessarily throw away millions of tons of food every year, according to a new study. The government is looking for ways to stop the waste.

Germany throws out an average of 11 million metric tons of food each year with the average citizen casting nearly 82 kilograms of food into the garbage. This is according to a study by the University of Stuttgart, published in Die Welt on Tuesday. The report also found that two-thirds of this waste need not be thrown away.

Private households were the biggest culprits, producing 61 percent of the nation's total food waste. So-called large-scale consumers, such as restaurants, canteens and schools, accounted for 17 percent of garbage. Coming in third was the retail sector, contributing five percent.

Time for action

The government has said it wants a public awareness campaign on the issue of expiry dates, which will firstly target retailers. The aim is to prevent food being thrown away even though it is still edible beyond its expiry date.

Agriculture and Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner with a campaign promotion poster

Ilse Aigner is calling for retailers to be more thoughtful

Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner has consistently supported action to prevent food wastage. "Food is precious. We cannot afford to let millions of tons of food end up in the garbage every year," said the CSU politician. Aigner is due to hold discussions on how to combat food wastage with experts in the food sector at the end of March.

Meanwhile, the food industry itself has called on customers to change their food-consumption behavior. "Sometimes customers buy too much at once, basic knowledge about food storage is difficult to access and the expiry date is often misinterpreted," Matthias Horst, chief executive of the Confederation of German Food Industry told the New Osnabrück newspaper.

sj/rc (dpa, kna)