The daily loss and waste of edible food represent one of the most evident failures of the European food system. The area currently represents one of the top priority for the European Union and some Member States and a clear example of Open Method of Coordination, co-regulation and horizontal governance. Despite the political and legislative emphasis, recent studies recognize that very little improvement has been obtained at the regional level and that more needs to be done to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. The discrepancy between ambitions and achievements is at the core of this contribution, which looks at food loss and waste through the lenses of the system of co-regulation in the search for more effective mechanisms of governance. Through an analysis of the EU regulatory framework, the role of multi-stakeholderism and the concrete example of two national legislations on food loss and waste, we question whether the current mechanism of governance is structured in a way that fosters intra-EU and EU-Member States cooperation, regulatory dialogue and the implementation of effective and non-contradictory solutions that make the realization of the Agenda 2030 possible. Are the EU and its Member States actually co-constructing a holistic and systemic approach to food loss and waste that reflects the existence of a common goal and is aware of the multiple ways in which law and regulation may obstacle its achievement or, on the contrary, are they reproducing a fragmented and sectorial approach to the problem that favours quick-fix interventions rather than its systemic redressal?
- European Union