The Food Waste Challenge Launched

To mark the World Environment Day, and as part of Kosovo Sustainable Development Week 2021, United Nations Development Programe (UNDP) in Kosovo, the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) launched today the first-ever Food Waste Challenge in Kosovo to tackle the problem of food waste in the gastronomy sector.

Food loss and waste are major sources of environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but the issue remains under-researched and there is relatively low awareness about the scope of its impact in Kosovo. Between 2% and 20% of food served is left on the plates due to various causes, such as lack of designed menus giving different portion options e.g. small, medium and large, fixed menu content not giving the costumers the choice of their preferred the side dishes, and sub-optimal ordering.

The challenge, which was announced today will select ten gastronomy businesses to go on a 3-week journey of food waste management.  The data collected by the selected restaurants, bars and cafes, will be the first data of its kind to inform economic and environmentally friendly policies.

Speaking at this virtual event, Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative emphasized: “Little is known about the food systems in Kosovo, the value chain in overall – but also about how households, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses deal with their food waste. Along with the challenges, there are countless opportunities to deal with it – making a sustainable transformation a financially and socially appealing option. We are happy to start this dialogue – and most importantly engage with businesses – to look into ways to decrease our environmental footprint. The Food Waste Challenge will be an exciting journey for all that want to be part of it.”

Fitore Pacolli, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development, Environment and Spatial Planning and Infrastructure confirmed commitment of the Kosovo institutions to this cause: “We are willing to cooperate with different organizations and businesses towards the improvement of food waste management in Kosovo. Our Commission will actively work towards proposing to public institutions the preparation and endorsement of a strategy for food waste reduction and management, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Agenda. Except that, to include the issue of food waste in the package of circular economy.”

“Focusing on food waste reduction, the Norwegian authorities working closely with the food industry, were able to cut economic losses linked to food waste by 12%, saving around 60 mil euros in just 4 years. This was achieved through implementing different measures such as adopting Too good to Go (an app linking restaurants with excess food and consumers) or providing different portion size to meet the costumers’ needs. Following this examples, this initiative will for the first time in Kosovo, measure how much food is wasted in selected restaurants, leading to better understanding the scale of the problem and making the case for action. What gets measured, gets managed!. ” said Giovanna Ottaviani Aalmo, PhD, Research Scientist, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research.

To learn more and apply for the Food Waste Challenge, please visit: