All along the line against food waste

Preventing or reducing food waste while ensuring the safety of the food and feed chain is of growing social, economic, environmental and political interest across the EU. At the Institute of Waste Management at BOKU (ABF-BOKU), "food waste" has been an important research area for more than 10 years. Results to date show that significantly more food is wasted at household level than at any other stage of the value chain.

Agricultural production:
At the level of primary production the data situation in Austria is still unclear. So far, data are based on surveys (Schneider et al, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Waste Management. In 2016 and 2017 field losses (post-harvest potential) were also surveyed for the first time (STREFOWA, "cleaning" pilot action).

In addition to data collection, the Institute for Waste Management is also involved in finding solutions such as new marketing channels for rejected vegetables.

In 2017, data was collected for the first time in 10 different food sectors (Institute of Ecology, 2017).

Retail trade:
In 2014, ABF-BOKU carried out surveys on food waste in Austrian retail trade for the first time. Within the framework of the FFG industry project "STOP Waste - SAVE Food", which was launched at the end of 2016, ABF-BOKU, together with the Institute of Food Technology at BOKU and other project and industry partners, is dealing in a very practical way with the question of whether optimised packaging really leads to an extension of the shelf life of food and thus to a reduction in food waste.

Out-of-home catering:
Within the framework of various projects and initiatives (e.g. STREFOWA, UnitedAgainstWaste), the volume and composition of food waste in the catering and tourism industry (canteen kitchens in hotels and restaurants, event catering companies, ...) is analysed and possibilities for avoiding it are shown. (United Against Waste Homepage)

Numerous activities of the ABF-BOKU aim at increasing the awareness of consumers for food waste. Materials for different age groups have been developed - school materials and workshop programmes for the youngest and information campaigns for adults (e.g. first aid box). On the other hand, the ABF-BOKU has been collecting data on the amount of food waste from households for years - sorting analyses, food diaries and surveys are carried out.

The ABF-BOKU is also committed to the methodological development of approaches to the valorisation of food waste - as for example in the EU project Refresh.

The competence network #reducefoodwaste ( was founded by the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, together with the Hungarian research organisation Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd. for Applied Research and the Austrian Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism as a new umbrella organisation focusing on the prevention and management of food waste.

The latest information on all food waste projects of ABF-BOKU can also be found on Facebook!

Here you can download materials that have been developed on the topic of food waste prevention in recent years.

contact: DI Gudrun Obersteiner








Preventing waste or the EU-wide growing social, economic, ecological and political interest. Food waste has been an important area of ​​research at the BOKU's Institute of Waste Management for 10 years. The only results show that at household level alone in Austria, 207,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste are produced - an amount equivalent to the mass of 20 Eiffel Towers. With the analysis of food waste along the entire value chain:

Agricultural production: At the beginning of the harvest season, a "cleaning" pilot action is carried out to harvest carrots, onions, potatoes and pumpkin fields harvested from Vienna, determine harvest losses and post-harvest potential, and search for new marketing channels for rejected vegetables.

Trade: Every year, around 75,000 tonnes of foodstuffs are sold in Austria that are not sold; additional 35,000 tonnes of bread and biscuits to suppliers (ABF-BOKU). In the context of the end of 2016 launched FFG-industry project "STOP Waste - SAVE Food" in the ABF-BOKU together with the Institute of Food Technology of the BOKU and other project and industry partners very practical with the question whether optimized packaging really to an extension of food and thus lead to a reduction of food waste.

Out - of - home catering: in the context of various projects. (In large and small companies, event catering companies, ...). analyzed.(United Against Waste Homepage)

Households: Many activities of the ABF-BOKU aim to increase awareness of food waste by students and consumers, a household survey conducted in May 2017, the STREFOWA roadshow at the Wiener Mistfest 2017, a workshop at the KinderBOKU

or the development of teaching materials for 10-14 year olds or tailor-made teaching materials for students of Austrian tourism schools.

As a partner in the EU project, the ABF-BOKU is also involved in the methodological development of approaches to the valorisation of food waste.

The latest information on all food waste projects of the ABF-BOKU can also be found on Facebook!