Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle’s project aimed at providing information and raising awareness about food waste. The project is designed as a series of interviews with students coming from different countries with the aim of understanding how this issue is tackled and perceived around the world. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world creating a uniquely multicultural environment.
Today we speak with Anda from Romania!
Hello Anda. How are you? Thank you for doing this interview with me. I am really excited to hear about the food waste situation in Romania! Firstly, could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi there, my name is Anda Codreanu and I am originally from Romania. I currently live in Denmark as I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration at Aarhus University.
Apart from my studies, I am also doing an internship as a Content Writer at Food Circle. The reason behind my decision is that I consider this internship as a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge in writing and also to be a part of such an international community. Most important for me is, however, that I get to have a contribution in fighting against food waste since I feel responsible to raise awareness on the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.
How would you describe the situation in Romania?
First of all, I would like to talk about the fact that Romanians spend a significant amount of money from their monthly income on food and nonalcoholic beverages. The data available shows that the percentage goes around 26% which means that Romanian people are willing to spend one quarter, if not more, on the ailments they consume each month.
From all the food being bought, a significant quantity goes to waste. This fact means that the food waste situation in Romania is quite far from ideal. According to recent European statistics, Romania has been ranked the 9th country in Europe in terms of food waste with around 2.2 million tons of food being lost each year which accounts for roughly 6000kg every day.
A good thing is that the Romanian government is aiming to reduce the amount of food going to waste by 2030. The main objective is to reduce food hunger and also to increase food security in the country. What does that mean? More production in agriculture and fewer possibilities to throw food away.
However, things are moving quite slow, from my point of view. The food waste issue is not ignored but not made a top priority by both the authorities and the citizens. There are a few organizations that are striving to raise awareness towards the issue and its consequences on the environment but they haven’t been rewarded with a lot of success lately. Hopefully, the situation improves in the future.
You are living in Denmark at the moment. What, in regards to food waste, is handled better and what is worse there compared to Romania?
I would say that Denmark is a bit more aware of the consequences of food waste than Romania. That is shown in the number of organizations and projects that have been implemented in Denmark to prevent the amount of food from going to the bins.
When I arrived in Denmark, I was surprised to see that restaurants and supermarkets do not just throw away the food that is close to the expiration date or the one that is left on the shelves at the end of the day but sell it for really good prices or donate it to the ones in need. There are also a large variety of events that serve “rescued” food and advertisements all over the cities.
However, they still have quite high food waste so I think the situation is not the best here, as well.
Are there organizations tackling food waste in Romania?
I am aware that there are a few organizations that are trying to lend a helping hand in tackling the issue.
There is an app created for restaurants and supermarkets to donate the food they do not use which was created by an NGO from Cluj-Napoca called “O masa calda”. There is also a startup that I have heard about, based in the capital of Romania, Bucharest. They launched an app that offers food close to its expiration date for really good prices. Still, these apps are not advertised enough, in my opinion. Not many people know that they exist.
Are there governmental regulations? How do you feel about people’s awareness?
Apart from the organizations that are trying to help, there is also a law for food waste in Romania which is known as the “Law 217/2016”. It contains various methods of preventing food waste. However, I am quite unsure about how many people are aware of the fact that it exists or that there are so many ways of preventing food waste.
Thank you so much for this informative and interesting conversation. Have an amazing day!
Interviewed: Anda Codreanu
Interviewer: Lea Annikki Kaiser
Editor and Writer: Lea Annikki Kaiser
Departamentul pentru Dezvoltare Durabilă Romania. (n.d.). Departamentul pentru Dezvoltare Durabilă. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from http://dezvoltaredurabila.gov.ro
Eurostat. (2020, December 28). How much are households spending on food? - Products Eurostat News - Eurostat. European Commission. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20201228-1
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Romanian regulations on diminishing food waste. (2017, May 30). CMS LAW-NOW. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2017/05/romanian-regulations-on-diminishing-food-waste