Reducing food waste in Europe

Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain (REFRESH) was an EU research project taking action against food waste. 26 partners from 12 European countries and China worked towards the project's goal to contribute towards Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from un-avoidable food waste and packaging materials.

WRAP was a contributing partner in REFRESH which ran for 4 years from July 2015 - June 2019.  It was funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreement no. 641933.

REFRESH had 26 partners from 12 European countries and China. These included leading universities, research institutes, private businesses, governments, civil society and other stakeholders.

The project took an innovative, systemic approach to curb food waste through a holistic "Framework for Action". REFRESH builds on and went beyond existing initiatives to develop, evaluate, and ensure the spread of social, technological, and organisational insights and practices related to food waste. This was underpinned with guidance to legislators and policy makers to help support effective governance to tackle food waste. 

A “Framework for Action” was a collaboratively agreed, self-determined ‘pact’ to take action on food waste and packaging materials generated at different stages of the food system – similar to WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment.


The project aimed to:

  • Develop strategic agreements to reduce food waste with governments, business and local stakeholders in four pilot countries (Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands). A call for pilots was issued for the business community and other stakeholders to participate in testing new approaches to reduce food waste and replicate these approaches into other countries.
  • Formulate EU policy recommendations and support national implementation of food waste policy frameworks.
  • Design and develop technological innovations to improve valorisation of food waste, e.g. from food processing, and ICT-based platforms and tools to support new and existing solutions to reduce food waste.

For more information

Subscribe to the REFRESH newsletter and join the Community of Experts.

Visit the REFRESH website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @EUREFRESH.

If you would like additional information about REFRESH, please contact:

Coordinator: Toine Timmermans or Hilke Bos-Brouwers, Wageningen UR (Netherlands).

National partner: Kate Bygrave, WRAP.



Food and drink