The Norwegian term “matsvinn” is mainly differentiated from the EU-definition of “food waste” by not including the inedible parts of food, but including food utilized as feed. The similarities between the two terms are that they both encompasses food that has entered the food supply chain (from the moment animals are slaughtered and plants are harvested) and has been removed from the food supply chain.

Sustainable food value chains are depending on that food is eaten instead of being wasted. According to the UN, about 1/3 of global food ends as waste. Furthermore, it is calculated that 25% of this global food waste would be sufficient to feed the starving population of the world. NORSUS performs extensive work on mapping quantities and composition of food waste and the underlying reasons for it. This is problematic from both an ethical and environmental perspective, as food production entails significant environmental and resource burdens.

Food waste is high on the political agenda, where the UN's sustainability goal 12.3 is about halving food waste by 2030, in line with Norway's industry agreement for reduced food waste.

NORSUS analyses quantities and composition of matsvinn and food waste, study consumer behaviour and why food is thrown away. The results provide increased knowledge and a basis for the prevention of food waste in all parts of the value chain.