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Food surplus: ‘describes food products, ingredients, or part-made products that for a wide variety of reasons cannot be sold into intended end markets’. 01

Food waste: ‘decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food services and consumers’. 02

Food Waste Index [FWI]: ‘global indicator proposed for measuring food waste, which comprises the retail and consumption levels in under development. UN Environment is taking the lead on this sub-indicator’. UN Environment is the leading agency for this index’. 03

Greenhouse gas: ‘gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere’. 04

Prevent/Reduce: ‘preventing food waste reduces the use of resources required for food production, labour and disposal costs, and reduces all the environmental, economic and social impacts linked to food waste disposal. Prevention is the most efficient way to deal with food wastage, as it is about limiting food wastage on the front end, while the other categories are about food wastage management’. 05

Reuse: ‘in the event a food surplus is produced, the best option is to keep it in the human food chain. This may call for finding secondary markets or donating to feed vulnerable members of society, so that it conserves its original purpose and prevents the use of additional resources to grow more food. If the food is not fit for human consumption, the next best option is to divert for livestock feed, thus conserving resources that would otherwise be used to produce commercial feedstuff.’ ‘What distinguishes reusing and recycling is that the latter alters the physical form of an object or material. Reuse is generally preferred to recycling because it consumes less energy and resources than recycling’. 06

The food supply chain: ‘consists of the following segments: (i) agricultural production and harvest/slaughter/catch; (ii) post-harvest/slaughter/catch operations; (iii) storage; (iv) transportation; (v) processing; (vi) wholesale and retail; and (vii) consumption by households and food services. Agricultural production, harvest and postharvest/slaughter/catch operations refers to activities where produce is still on the farm or the producer’s premises. Post-harvest/slaughter/catch operations include cleaning, grading, sorting and treatments (e.g. for disinfestation on the farm or in a packing facility). Processing includes primary processing operations (e.g. drying, dehusking, deshelling), which often take place on the farm and secondary processing (product transformation). The moment food is consumed or removed from the food supply chain defines the end point of that chain’. 07

Waste: ‘any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard’. 08

FIFO: First In, First Out (FIFO) is a system for storing and rotating food. In FIFO, the food that has been in storage longest (“first in”) should be the next food used (“first out”). 09


01 WRAP, Guidance for Food and Drink Manufacturers and Retailers on the Use of Food Surplus as Animal Feed.

Animal Feed Guidance | WRAP

02 FAO, 2019. The State of Food and Agriculture 2019. Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction. Rome. [Accessed September 2020]. [Online].

Available at:

03 UN Indicator = FAO, Sustainable Development Goals, Indicator 12.3.1, Global Food Loss and Waste.

04 EPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

05, 06  FAO, 2013. Toolkit: reducing the food wastage footprint. Rome. [Online]. [Accessed July 2020].

Available at:

07 FAO, 2019. The State of Food and Agriculture 2019. Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction. Rome. [Accessed September 2020]. [Online].

Available at:

08 EU, 2008, Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives.

Available at: EUR-Lex - 32008L0098 - EN - EUR-Lex (

09 StateFoodSafety Resources. Ask a Food Safety Scientist: How Can I Reduce Food Waste?:

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