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Institute of

MA Market Analysis


Competence Center for Out-of-Home Catering

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Centre of Excellence for Food Service

Food waste costs food service many millions of euros per year and additionally bundels many unused resources. In the Centre of Excellence for Food Service for Food Service (CoE), we want to support companies in reducing food waste through monitoring food waste and efficient reduction measures. Through our scientific monitoring, we also want to evaluate the success of a voluntary target agreement in the course of the project. 

Background and Objective

With the United Nations' "Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development," Germany has committed itsself to the goal of significantly reducing food waste. By 2030, food waste is to be halved at the retail and consumer level and the food losses that occur along the production and supply chain, including post-harvest losses, are to be reduced. For Germany, this global sustainability goal is implemented through the National Food Waste Strategy.

As part of this strategy, which was presented by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in February 2019, Dialog Forums were opened for each sector to jointly develop concrete measures to reduce food waste and develop sector-specific target agreements. 

The Discussion Forum For Food Service ran from 2019 to 2021. The Centre of Excellence for Food Service To Reduce Food Waste (CoE), which the Thünen-Institute primarily accompanies scientifically, continues the dialogue in the sector and reviews and documents the successes of the sector with regard to the declaration of participation (signed by companies) for the target agreement (signed by associations). The signatories of this agreement are committed to the Union-wide indicative target for the reduction of food waste by 30 percent by 2025 and by 50 percent by 2030 for the Food Service sector. CoE will serve as a neutral, inter-association body over the next three years. It will be funded by the ministry till November 2024 and self-financed until at least 2030 to implement this target agreement. 

To achieve the targets, food waste reduction measures will be evaluated and the efficiency of the implemented measures will be communicated. In addition, food waste is measured in a continuous monitoring process in order to show te reduction trend towards the achievement of the targets and to readjust them if necessary. Another important task of the CoE is the acquisition and consultation of (future) signatories in order to achieve the highest possible market coverage and thus to make representative statements for the entire sector.


The CoE is coordinated and managed by United Against Waste (UAW), funded by the BMEL. The Thünen Institute acts as a scientific partner, evaluating the incoming data and the underlying process. 
As a neutral and inter-association body, CoE continues the exchange and dialogue between the actors in food service and prepares relevant key figures for the sector. This includes in particular
- the collection, analysis and processing of food waste data submitted by companies,
- the preparation of targets for food service,
- the documentation of the targets achieved for various target groups, and
- monitoring implementation and success to verify the effectiveness of this target agreement. 

Preliminary Results

Interim Report

These results base on the data available to the CoE by 31 August 2023. So far, 29 companies have participated, covering a total of 180 sites. Of these 180 sites, 39 were awarded as of 31 August 2023. The data from these 39 locations were evaluated accordingly by the CoE and provide the basis for this report. As of December 4 2023, the participations have increased to 31 companies with a total of 224 operating sites. The above-mentioned evaluated 39 operating sites have been able to reduce a total of almost nine tonnes of food waste within four weeks during their second measurement period in comparison to the first one. All measurement periods took place in 2022 and 2023. The market coverage of the agreement is currently still low (< 1%), but the establishment of the CoE fulfils an important function for more participation and serves as a contact point for companies from various industries in the sector. The participation of declaration provides a clear guide on how companies can get involved. The continuous support provided by the CoE ensures that companies remain motivated and continue to reduce their food waste. However, the long-term impact of the agreement cannot be conclusively assessed at this stage.

It remains to be noted that due to the number of companies awarded so far, generalization is currently not possible. Across all industries, in the first measurement period, just under 52 tons of LMA were generated, which could be reduced by 17% to just over 43 tons through various measures, as indicated by the second measurement period.

In the accommodation category, significant reductions in LMA were observed in the breakfast area, with the average LMA dropping from 50g in Measurement Period 1 (MP1) to 28g in Measurement Period 2 (MP2). In the category of company restaurants, the LMA decreased from 114g in MP1 to 99g in MP2. It was noted here that in MP2, four locations showed an increase in LMA, with one location experiencing an increase of over 100%. Educational institutions achieved a reduction in LMA from 41g in MP1 to 35g in MP2. Two sites in this category also showed an increase in LMA, while three achieved an average reduction of 39%. In hospitals, all three sites achieved an average reduction in LMA of 18%. In senior and care facilities, the LMA reduced by approximately 30 to 32% in both locations.

Links and Downloads

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  1. 0

    Büttemeier M, Orr L (2024) Cutting food waste in food service. In: Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (ed) 16. Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), 17.-20. January 2024 in Berlin.

  2. 1

    Orr L, Goossens Y (2024) Trimming the plate: A comprehensive case study on effective food waste reduction strategies in corporate canteens. Sustainability 16(2):785, DOI:10.3390/su16020785

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