Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Announcing Our Action Agenda To Transform Global Food System

Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Announcing Our Action Agenda To Transform Global Food System

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on tumblr

As part of our engagement with the Food Systems Game Changers Lab, the Institute for Development Impact (I4DI) Nigeria-based team worked in collaboration with other game-changers from different parts of the world to co-create and co-develop a jointly shared solution that has the potential to transform our world’s food systems.  


This jointly shared solution is developed to reduce food loss and waste with a vision of maintaining the nutritional and market value of food by minimizing loss and waste, which reduces the world’s environmental footprint. In support of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UN FSS), I4DI is committed and seeking a collaborative spirit in taking this solution forward in partnership with others as move into the matchmaking process.

Reducing Food Loss and Waste

For developing countries, we aim to minimize post-harvest food loss by scaling existing and developing food  preservation technologies through entrepreneurship, and sharing resources and knowledge.

For developed countries, we aim to minimize food waste at the retail level by scaling existing and creating new  legislation, regulations and policies, which will incentivize reducing food waste.

We aim to equitably distribute knowledge and resources globally by implementing cold and dry chain best  practices, and increasing food access through food banks and food rescue operations, which will in-turn reduce  Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by up to 70 giga tons a year.

The Need

The Solution

In developing countries, more than 40% of the food losses are post-harvest losses while 50% of food is wasted at retail and consumer levels in developed countries.

At the same time, 600 million people go hungry in both developed and developing countries because they have no access to the very food that is lost or wasted. There is a need to minimize food loss and waste to feed a growing global population with safe and nutritious food, while reducing environmental impacts and enhancing livelihood and health.


We propose to use systemic change to reduce loss and waste along the food chain. We will reconnect all parts of the food supply chain (production, manufacturing/distribution, and retail) through supply chain preservation improvements in developing countries and expanding food recovery operations in developed countries.

Food loss and waste can be transformed by adopting current eco-friendly policies,  scaling existing post-harvest best storage and transportation interventions (e.g., cold/dry chain), and by creating equitable distribution of lost and wasted food (e.g., via  food recovery).

Our solution focuses on a Now not New concept. We do not need to invent new technologies and processes because they already exist to solve the hunger problem; we need to deploy them bv. The solution works because the major challenge in food loss and waste is not one of supply, but one of distribution


The purpose of our solution is to transform global food systems for the benefit of people, planet, and prosperity by minimizing food loss and waste through scaling and implementation of food supply chain preservation systems, food rescue programs, and national “zero food waste” policies. The solution moves the current diverse and unconnected food supply chain to an interconnected, holistic system that redistributes food and food processes equitably across the globe, using current technology and processes. It focuses on now not new.

Turning Barriers into Opportunities



Environment: Lack of environmental policies such as food waste policies that promote waste prevention and food donation, restrict food from going to landfills and prevent unnecessary food production. A lack of resources (funds, education, appropriate technology) and incentives that tackle the thought processes and systems behind food waste and provide transparency and traceability in the food supply chain to minimize food loss and waste

  • Create global policy, backed by the UN, to secure interest and investment and possible partnership in food waste and loss prevention.; Lobby for national policy creation and implementation to mobilize resources for food rescue/diversion efforts.
  • Identify specific policy and infrastructure needs and engineer partnerships with scaling partners and government organizations for cross-sector collaboration to reduce negative environmental impacts. Co-create a global plan taking into account different economies and roles to offset negative environmental impacts of loss and waste.

Livelihoods: There is inequitable distribution of resources and incentives between developed and developing economies. Abundant resources and infrastructure in developed countries are not easily shared with developing countries due to unique geographical, political and economic environments. Food losses developing from this in developing countries during harvest and in storage translate into lost income for small holder farmers and into higher prices for poor consumers.

  • Review infrastructure needs and devise a sustainable approach to aid people in countries to acquire needed infrastructure
  • Build a matchmaking platform to provide secure and equitable access to technology, knowledge sharing, farmers’ training, data, financial services, and market opportunities across the food chain

Human Health: Current food systems with long and deregulated global commodity supply chains make it difficult to place quality monitoring checks that ensure food does not get spoiled in processing, distribution and retail. Current food consumption and distribution patterns prevent access to healthy food and encourage unhealthy food choices, which compromise human health.

  • Standardize food dating and update or eliminate outdated nutrition guidelines. Invest in and implement food safety monitoring systems per CODEX standards to reduce toxins
  • Develop programs to educate producers, retailers, and consumers that promote consumption of nutritious foods, improving health outcomes through various behavioral change and structural


Navigating Unknowns

Potential Unintended Consequences
Thinking Ahead – strategies to avoid these consequences

Reductions in food waste could negatively impact food rescue programs and organizations.

Saving upstream food loss at the supply chain level might increase food waste at the retail and/or consumer levels.

Involve food rescue organizations in co-creating solutions that may be mutually beneficial. For example, food rescue partnered with retailers committed to minimizing food waste across jurisdictional networks. Test food loss supply chain preservation solutions on a smaller scale for upstream/ downstream effects and iterate on these to maximize benefits across the food supply chain once these are brought to scale.

Our solution needs partnerships between national and local governments, NGOs, and philanthropists; but most importantly in the developed world, we need support from non-profit organizations and/or governments who have already laid the groundwork and are currently developing solutions towards global food recovery.
From scaling partners, we need the capacity and investment to expand supply chain preservation processes within the developing world, as well as public-private partnerships to develop policies towards scaling food recovery in the developed world.

Similar Solutions in Action

Example of successful technology:

Dry Chain technologies minimize post-harvest food loss through triple action on reducing the impacts of insects, toxic molds, and nutrient loss, thereby improving food safety and maximizing nutrition. See links below.

  1. 1. Solar-based cooling
  2. 2. Purdue Improved Crop Storage
  3. 3. Ecofriendly solar drying tools
  4. 4. Drying beads
  6. Examples of successful programs:

Food rescue programs source and distribute food waste at the retail level to communities and non-profit organizations in need of food. See links below.

  1. 1. White Pony Express in the U.S.
  2. 2.Scholars of Sustenance in Thailand and Indonesia
  4. Examples of national policies that incentivize reducing food waste include: See links below.
  1. 1. South Korea’s policy on Food Waste
  2. 2.Italy’s policy for donation and distribution of food and pharmaceuticals

Cohort Team Members

Institute for Development Impact (I4DI) (Adeyinka Meduoye, Abdulhaffiz Umar, Ochanya Adah), Healthcare Designers (Nita Lakhani and Sylvia Szkudlarek), White Pony Express (Tim Letzkus), The Sustainability Consortium (Jennifer Park), Research Consortium led by University of California, Davis, USA (Peetambar Dahal, Meghnath Dhimal, Kent J. Bradford and others), AGPharm Bioinnovations LLP (Sanjai Saxena), Emadini (Izegbuwa Izevbaye), Shumbakadzi (Blessing Machiya), Savannah Health System Innovation (Suzzy Niyang, Confidence Oigoga), Scholars of Sustenance Foundation-Thailand (Naphat Phongpheat), Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) (Emmanuel Okalany and Florence Nakayiwa Mayega), Under the Microscope (Stephanie Okeyo), Jorge Luis Siesquén Deza, Claudia Siesquén. This Cohort was guided by Simona Grande


810 7th St. NE, Washington, DC 20002



©Made by I4DI – © 2020 Development Institute LLC, Washington DC, USA.