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Too good for the bin - an initiative of the Federal Government to avoid food waste

Many precious foodstuffs end up in the bin. We throw away roughly one out of eight food items we buy - in Germany that’s every year about 82 kilos of food waste per person. These are the findings of a study conducted by the University of Stuttgart (March 2012). Private households throw away about 6.7 million tons of food per year. Much of it is preventable. Each person throws away an average of food per year for the equivalent of about 230 Euros.

No food seems to be safe from ending up in the bin. This applies especially to fruits and vegetables. All products which are important for a healthy diet, but which unfortunately turn quickly unsightly when not stored adequately; most frequently end up in the bin such as withered salad, shriveled carrots or apples with bruises. Also baked goods are discarded, as well as leftovers, dairy products, beverages and easy-perishables such as meat and fish.


Look at our video with english subtitles for an overview of the initative.

Why do we throw away so much?

We get tempted, we grab to-bigpacks when purchasing, even though we are not able to deplete them. We store our food improperly or throw it away, without checking whether it is still edible. We cook too much without further utilizing leftovers. All this is double expensive for us and for the environment. We invest water and raw materials for the production of food, and waste even more energy for their destruction.

You can change that

To reduce the amount of food waste in Germany significantly the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) runs the initiative "To good for the bin!", which was launched in spring 2012. It has the objective to reach as many consumers as possible and reduce food waste with joint effort along the entire chain.


The website of the initiative (only in german) offers background information and useful tips for everyday life. These show how we can better buy, store and eat food. Those looking for tasty and creative cooking ideas for best leftovers can find them in the large database for recipes - top chefs and celebrities have provided many of the recipes. Also own recipe ideas can be posted and shared with others. In an interactive test one can find out how to reduce food waste best. In the news section the initiative informs about actions, experts here give advice and provide information from trade, politics and science.


To prepare delicious leftover meals from leftovers: For this purpose there is the app "Zu gut für die Tonne" with more than 400 cooking ideas including recipes from top chefs and celebrity chef mentors such as Johan Lafer or Daniel Brühl. Here you will find classic meals like "Armer Ritter" (French Toast) as well as new creations and smart side dishes made of few ingredients. Furthermore the app gives tips for shopping, correct storage and utilization of food.

'We save food'

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Slow Food Deutschland e.V. and the Bundesverband Deutsche Tafel organise nationwide days of action against food waste. "Wir retten Lebensmittel!" ("We save Food!") - under this motto citizens, companies and organizations can participate actively and save food from the bin. Firstly, food with flaws will be collected from supermarkets and producers and then the leftovers will be processed into a tasty "best leftover menu". Highlight of this food-saver-event is a long table in a central square of each city. Citizens are offered delicious leftover meals.


The initiative of the Federal Government to avoid food waste meets a broad response by the population: 95 per cent of Germans support the goal of reducing significantly the amount of food waste. The initiative "Zu gut für die Tonne!" launched in spring 2012 has a high profile by now and apparently influences consumer behavior: According to the survey every other German (51 per cent) has heard from the initiative. Thereof every fourth (26 per cent) states to have changed behavior within the past months and to deal with food more con-sciously now. This is the result of a recent survey of Infratest dimap on behalf of the BMEL (1008 respondents, population aged from 18 years, 20-21 November 2012).

Around 78 percent of Germans have consciously attempted to avoid producing food waste in recent months or intend to do so. This is the result of a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Research Association GfK on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (October 2014, 1,009 respondents, representative of the German population aged over 14 years). According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents want base more of what they buy when shopping on conscious, well-informed decisions, 46 percent want to use more leftover food and 36 percent want to pay greater attention to correct storage.


Federal Office of Agriculture
and Food
Phone: +49 (0)228 6845- 7340
Fax: +49 (0)228 6845- 7112

Look at our video with english subtitles for an overview of the initative.