Finland’s holistic approach to tackling food waste and food insecurity

by | Oct 3, 2023 | Environment, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

Finland is widely recognized as a global leader in sustainability and environmental responsibility. With a commitment to diminishing the environmental impact of food waste and enhancing food security, the country has implemented a range of pioneering strategies and initiatives. Here’s an overview of Finland’s

food waste policy and its broader food policies. 

Food waste policy 

Food waste is a pressing global issue with detrimental environmental, economic, and social consequences. Finland has responded to this challenge with clear objectives and initiatives designed to reduce food waste along the supply chain, bolster recovery efforts and promote sustainable consumption. 

Underpinning these efforts is legislation. In 2021, Finland

amended the Finnish Food Act to mandate that food businesses report their food waste data, fostering transparency and accountability. 

Collaboration is a cornerstone of Finland’s food waste reduction strategy. Public-private partnerships, like the Finnish Food Rescue Association, work closely with retailers, restaurants and producers to redirect surplus food to those in need. This approach not only reduces waste but also addresses food insecurity. 

Education and awareness campaigns also play an integral role. Initiatives like “Best Before – Good After” are designed to change consumer behaviour by providing information on food expiration dates and promoting the use of leftover ingredients. 

The principles of the circular economy, including reducing, reusing, and recycling, are also applied to food systems to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency. 

Food Policies 

Beyond addressing food waste, Finland has implemented a comprehensive set of food policies that prioritize sustainability, health and quality throughout the supply chain. 

The country encourages local and sustainable sourcing to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. It’s a practice often seen in public institutions, such as schools and hospitals. 

To support organic

farming practices, the government provides subsidies and incentives to farmers who transition to organic methods, which promote healthier ecosystems and reduce chemical inputs in agriculture.  

The Finnish National Nutrition Council advocates for healthy eating habits, emphasizing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Dietary guidelines also encourage the use of plant-based proteins, contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production. 

Finland invests significantly in research and innovation in the food sector. Initiatives such as Food Tech Finland stimulate the development of sustainable and innovative food products and technologies. 

With its comprehensive approach that encompasses legislative measures, collaborative initiatives, educational campaigns and support for sustainable practices throughout the food supply chain, Finland continues to serve as a global model for responsible and sustainable food systems. The country’s policies offer inspiration to others seeking to address the multifaceted challenges of food waste and environmental sustainability.