The impact of cosmetic quality standards on food losses in the Flemish fruit and vegetable sector

Kris Roels & Dirk Van Gijseghem

September 2017

The impact of cosmetic quality standards on food losses in the Flemish fruit and vegetable sector

Cosmetic quality standards for fruits and vegetables are specific requirements with regard to colour, shape and size which harvested products have to meet after preparation and packaging. Their aim is to promote trade, optimise the packaging and logistic process and enable product differentiation.

In the literature, cosmetic quality standards are often linked to food losses. Compliance often means that part of the food production will not be used in the human food chain, but will be rather intended for low value valorisation.

Currently, knowledge on cosmetic quality standards and the quantitative consequences on food marketing are relatively limited. A number of reports show that a considerable part of fruits and vegetables is discarded, but only few data are available. Preventing food waste is on the policy agenda of Flanders, so additional research is needed to identify the challenges in Flanders and to work out solutions.

To that aim, a survey was conducted among 300 horticulturists. The research was ordered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Government of Flanders as a contribution to the Food Supply Chain Roadmap on Food Loss and carried out by the University of Ghent.

Citation:

Roels K. & Van Gijseghem D. (2017) The impact of cosmetic quality standards on food losses in the Flemish fruit and vegetable sector, summary report, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brussels.

This document is an English summary of the full report (in Dutch):

Gellynck X., De Pelsmaeker S., Lambrecht E. & Vandenhaute H. (2017) De impact van cosmetische kwaliteitseisen op voedselverlies. Casestudie Vlaamse sector groenten en fruit, ordered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brussels.


© Flemish Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries