The Norwegian government and food industry have signed an agreement pledging to halve food waste by 2030.

A third of all food worldwide is wasted, and in Norway, the average consumer disposes of 42kg of food that could otherwise have been eaten every year, a total of 350,000 tonnes.

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Over 11% of the total production of fruit and vegetables are thrown away by Norwegian consumers each year, with around 4% of solid dairy products disposed of.

“Throwing away food is a waste of resources and good produce,” said the minister for climate and environment Vidar Helgesen. “If we manage to reduce food waste we will be able to save both money and the environment. This is not just the responsibility of each consumer but for the food industry as a whole.”

He conceded that many measures are already in place to tackle the problem, such as supermarkets reducing the price of food as it nears its sell by date, making smaller loaves of bread available; and the government removing VAT on food donated to charity.

But there is still more to be done, added Helgessen. “I would like to challenge the food industry to be innovative and creative in the coming years,” he said.

While consumers are being urged to plan food shopping and preparation in order to minimize waste, and to be more aware of sell by date labels, the food industry’s actions “will be the deciding factor” in halving food waste, said the minister for children and equality Solveig Horne. Food waste in the supply chain amounts to 68kg per person per year.

To tackle the problem, the authorities and the food industry will co-ordinate mapping and reporting from their commercial activities while the authorities will compile national statistics. “Mapping and data collection are necessary in order to implement effective measures,” said Helgesen.

“It is paramount that the whole production and supply chain from primary producers to consumers must take responsibility to reduce food waste. I am committed to reducing food waste in Norway,’ said minister for agriculture and food Jon Georg Dale.

The fishing industry, too, has its part to play in achieving the ambitious food waste target. As the second largest exporter of seafood in the world, the ministry for fisheries Per Sandberg said: We have a responsibility to not waste our valuable natural resources.”