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Tackling Food Waste: Food Chain Partners Join Forces

Representatives from across Europe’s food supply chain have recently announced the launch of a joint effort to tackle the major societal problem of food wastage via the publication of their Joint Declaration entitled, ‘Every Crumb Counts’ . Launched at an event in Brussels in the presence of distinguished speakers from the European Parliament, the European Commission, a number of NGOs and industry representatives, co-signatories of the Declaration aim not only to work towards preventing edible food waste but also to promote a life-cycle approach to reducing wastage and to proactively input into European, national and global solutions and initiatives in this area.

With the long-term sustainability of the food chain foremost in mind, and conscious of the global environmental impact of food disposal such as an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, co-signatories commit to contribute to the objective of reducing food wastage throughout the entire food supply chain, in line with the European Commission’s goal of halving edible food waste by 2020, set out in the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative ‘A resource-efficient Europe’. Furthermore, the Joint Declaration explores how new markets and better food recovery can contribute to economic growth.

Lending his support to the initiative, Matthias Groote MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, said: "Food wastage does not only have a big impact on the global food situation, but also significant economic and ecologic consequences. I welcome the launch of the Joint Stakeholder Declaration […] which seeks to raise awareness of food waste and of solutions to tackle this issue, and of the presentation of the new online toolkit for manufacturers. Policymakers, companies and consumers all have to be part of the solution".

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, representatives of the several co-signatory organisations emphasised the importance of the initiative:

FoodDrinkEurope President, Jesús Serafín Pérez said: “We are encouraged by the degree of support that the Joint Food Wastage Declaration, ‘Every Crumb Counts’ has received so far; it is our hope that this will be rolled out effectively not only among actors along the food supply chain, but also by other groups, thereby contributing significantly to the flagship EU 2020 Goal for a resource-efficient Europe. FoodDrinkEurope is pleased also to announce the launch of its new Food Waste Industry Toolkit , ‘Maximising food resources: A Toolkit for food manufacturers on avoiding food wastage’, developed to help food manufacturers reduce and prevent food waste by sharing best practice and guidance throughout the industry”.

Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of EUROPEN added: “As part of the food supply chain, EUROPEN (packaging supply chain) members are committed to further contribute to food waste prevention. Packaging is part of the solution as it prevents food spoilage for longer and ensures food quality and safety along the supply chain and at home, also informing consumers on best use and storage of packaged food products. Further investments in packaging innovation and technologies, such as in the areas of active and intelligent packaging, increasing shelf-life and portion sizes, play a key role.”

Isabel Jonet, President of the European Federation of Foodbanks (FEBA) commented: “Recovering edible food before it is destroyed and redistributing it to beneficiary charities which take care of deprived people is the ‘raison d’être’ of our network of 253 food banks in 21 European countries. FEBA thoroughly supports this Joint Declaration on Food Wastage as we are convinced that building stronger cooperation between food banks and FoodDrinkEurope members is a very efficient and proven way to reduce food waste and hunger simultaneously”.

Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) said: “The SRA welcomes and supports this Declaration as it addresses one of the most important global issues of our time. Food wastage has an enormous social, environmental and economic impact, so reducing it should be a no-brainer for restaurants, especially as we know from research that it is something diners care about deeply. Many restaurants are already taking significant steps, and we would urge those that are not, to take action now, for the benefit of the planet, food security and their bottom line.”

Rocco Renaldi, Secretary General of FoodServiceEurope commented: “Reducing food waste is a real challenge, especially in the just-in-time environment of the contract catering sector. But it is an environmental, economic and ethical imperative that we play our part. FoodServiceEurope is proud to join food manufacturers and others in what we hope will become a food chain approach to food waste reduction.”

Frédéric Rosseneu, Secretary General of Europatat said: “We recognise the importance of the current societal and political debate regarding food wastage. Whilst potatoes which cannot be sold fresh are generally used for processing or animal feed, our involvement in the Joint Declaration aims to raise further awareness about the issue and to exchange best practices in the supply chain but and towards the consumer."

Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel Europe noted: “Food wastage is a highly complex issue which requires the involvement of all partners in the supply chain in order to tackle it effectively and not just shift it further up or down in the chain. This has been the key driver for Freshfel’s participation in the Joint Declaration. There’s no silver bullet solution, but we hope the increased awareness and exchange of best practices within the fruit and vegetable category will help to reduce the level of wastage across the chain.”

Ingrid Verschueren, Packaging Division Manager of EuPC said: “Roughly one third of the edible portions of food produced for human consumption are never eaten and that is unacceptable. Plastic packaging can play a significant role in reducing this number and that is why EuPC is welcoming and supporting the ‘Every Crumb Counts’ Declaration”.

The Joint Food Waste Declaration is available for download here: www.everycrumbcounts.eu

Source: HortiTrends News Room