Saturday, 26 September 2015

Food waste and food banks: new initiatives >>> >>> >>> "This crisis has forced us to end the 'each man for himself' mentality, to look at what we can do together to get ourselves out of this mess."

Food waste is a big concern:
Futures Forum: Food: don't waste it
Futures Forum: The Water, Energy and Food Nexus

Especially with food banks on the increase:
Futures Forum: Poverty in Sidmouth: Sid Valley Food Bank: "demand has quadrupled in just a year"
Futures Forum: Poverty in Sidmouth: Sid Valley Food Bank: playing politics

Famously, former PM Gordon Brown urged us to waste less food:
BBC NEWS | Politics | Stop wasting food, Brown urging
G8 summit: Gordon Brown urges families to stop wasting food - Telegraph
Gordon Brown puts the spotlight on supermarket food waste - Telegraph

Since then, considerable efforts have been made, as a Parliamentary report just out suggests:

Food waste

21 September 2015

Avoidable household food waste has reduced by 21% since 2007 but the average UK household still throws away the equivalent of six meals per week. The complexity of the food chain means that sources of food waste can be difficult to identify and quantify accurately. The UK is leading the way in collecting robust food waste data but on-farm data needs to be improved. Tesco has introduced a new app for store managers to alert local charities etc to surplus food available for collection at the end of the day.

This paper is taken from the House of Commons Briefing paper SN07045 by Emma Downing, Wendy Carr and Sara Priestley. Download the full report here. Food Waste 

It is estimated that the UK produces 15 million tonnes of food waste annually—UK households produce almost half of this. Avoidable household food waste has reduced by 21% since 2007 but the average UK household still throws away the equivalent of six meals per week. It is estimated that wasted food could cost each household £250-£400 per year.

Food poverty, and a rise in food bank use, has brought the issue of food waste to Parliament’s attention. Food waste is also being considered as part of the EU’s revised circular economy package, due by the end 2015. This reflects the growing public interest in how much food is wasted and redistributed to those who need it (see Library standard note, Food Banks and Food Poverty).


And another report this month says much the same - but with international comparisons:

Reducing food waste is key to Sustainable Development Goals

Brian Lipinski Friday, September 25, 2015 - 1:00am

More than 150 world leaders are meeting in New York this weekend to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of global targets intended to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and curb climate change.

The SDGs will help set the global development agenda for the next 15 years, focusing attention on the opportunities that will allow for a more sustainable future.

One such priority included is reducing global food waste. Specifically, SDG Target 12.3 will call for the world to cut per capita food waste in half by 2030. If met, this ambitious target not only will boost food security, but also improve livelihoods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save land and water. In short, curbing food waste is both a goal in itself and a means of achieving other SDGs.
The cost of food waste and loss

Globally, food worth $750 billion is lost or wasted each year throughout the entire supply chain. Reducing food loss and waste could help to recover these economic losses and reduce financial burdens on the world’s most vulnerable people. In Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure regions, the World Bank estimates (PDF) that just a 1 percent reduction in post-harvest losses could lead to economic gains of $40 million each year. And out of that $40 million, most of the benefits would go directly to the smallholder farmers growing the food.

Where waste happens in the food chain.

From an environmental perspective, food loss and waste are an extremely inefficient use of resources. According to a study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food loss and waste accounts for about 3.3 gigatonnes (PDF) of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that in perspective, if food loss and waste were its own country it would be the world’s third-largest emitter, only exceeded by China and the United States. Large amounts of water and fertilizer also go into the production of this food that never reaches human mouths. This is a big environmental cost to pay for food from which humans derive little to no use.

And from a food security perspective, reducing food loss and waste is a major opportunity to close the calorie gap between where the world is now and where it needs to be to sustainably feed the planet. The world faces a roughly 70 percent gap between the crop calories produced today and those that will be needed to feed a projected population of more than 9.5 billion in 2050. Recovering some of this lost and wasted food can help close that gap while strengthening livelihoods and improving food security — without requiring any additional environmental costs.
How to cut food loss and waste

The good news is that food loss and waste — a chronically overlooked issue — is starting to get the attention it deserves, both from the public and private sectors. Just last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an ambitious goal in line with the SDGs to reduce food waste in the United States by 50 percent by 2030.

In just five years, the U.K. cut food waste by 21 percent, and Denmark achieved an impressive 25 percent reduction over the same time span. On the business side, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which represents more than 400 companies across 70 countries, recently adopted a resolution to reduce food waste among member facilities by half by 2025.

Here at WRI, we are working to reduce food loss and waste through the Food Loss & Waste (FLW) Protocol, along with our partners at the CGF, FAO, FUSIONS, UNEP,WBCSD and WRAP. Working off the principle that “what gets measured gets managed,” the FLW Protocol is a multi-stakeholder effort to develop a global accounting and reporting standard for quantifying food loss and waste.

The Protocol’s forthcoming FLW Standard will allow companies and countries to quantify their own food loss and waste in a credible and consistent manner, identifying where and how much food is being lost and wasted. Companies and countries then can use that information to identify appropriate strategies for making reductions. This will lead to economic benefits, increased food security and reduced environmental impacts.

The FLW Standard will be available early next year, just in time to help companies and countries set baselines and start measuring progress against the SDG Target 12.3. This standard, along with loss and waste-reduction efforts from farm to fork, can help shift the world toward a less wasteful, more sustainable food future.

Reducing food waste is key to Sustainable Development Goals | GreenBiz
Unfair trading causes food waste | The Scottish Farmer

The issue is getting bigger - with several initiatives underway this week:

Parliament is getting in on the act:
Labour environment shadow sets out stall | News | Materials Recycling World
Minister hints support for ‘voluntary’ food waste goals - letsrecycle.com

Supermarkets are committed to 'doing something':
Sainsbury's seeks UK town for food waste initiative trials
Tesco calls for supply chain collaboration to reduce food waste
Co-op to cut 500 tonnes of food waste by teaming up with charity - Telegraph

Celebs are doing their bit:
Great British Bake Off champion Nancy Birtwhistle blames food waste on fussy eaters | Daily Mail Online

As are ordinary folk:
Food waste wedding banquet served as couple tie the knot in ethical style - Mirror Online

We clearly need to be using our loaf a bit more:
One in five UK households dump a loaf of bread in the bin, survey reveals | Environment | The Guardian

Meanwhile in Greece:

Greek crisis prompts a rethink on food waste

By Yannick Pasquet | AFP – Mon, Sep 7, 2015

With little end to their economic misery in sight, Greeks are finding inventive ways to feed the poor while also fighting waste -- a movement that is chipping away at traditional attitudes to food.

Three years ago, Xenia Papastavrou came up with a simple idea: take unsold food from shops and restaurants that was headed for the bin, and use it to feed the growing number of Greeks going hungry as the financial crisis took hold.

"In June, they gave us 3,000 kilos of melons; in August we got 7,200 cartons of milk," the 39-year-old told AFP at her office behind Athens' central market.

Boroume ("We Can"), the organisation she founded, matches donated foodstuffs with charities in need -- whether vegetables, bread or "even these 12 tiropita (cheese pies), which weren't sold at the bakery".

These days the food routed through Boroume provides an average of 2,500 meals a day across Greece, from Athens to Thessaloniki in the north.

"Greece is a country that throws a lot away," explained Papastavrou from behind a computer screen covered with data tables and the addresses of charities.

In Greek tavernas, if the plates aren't piled with huge pyramids of food, a meal between friends can be considered a failure, she added. "There isn't really a mentality of paying attention to this," she said. "Here, it's: 'I've paid for it, so I can do what I want with it.'"

But years of hardship have started to change habits in a country where official figures show a quarter of the population is at risk of poverty. "In Greece, people used to think that good quality means high prices," said Tonia Katerini, an architect who spends about 10 hours a week working in the Sesoula co-operative grocery store in Exarchia, downtown Athens.

But as Greece slumped into a deep six-year recession after the 2008 financial crisis erupted, people began thinking harder about whether this was really true, she said.

- 'Potato movement' -

The rice, lentils and olive oil on the shelves at the grocery are "on average 10 to 15 percent cheaper than in the supermarket," said Katerini.

To achieve this, the grocery -- like the 11 other cooperatives of its kind that have sprung up in Athens in recent years -- skips the middlemen and negotiates directly with producers.

The idea was born three years ago with the rise of Greece's so-called "potato movement." Unhappy with the profits that wholesalers were making at their own expense, farmers began selling straight to the customers, offering sacks of potatoes from the backs of their trucks.

The result: bigger profits for the farmers, and lower prices for families trying to scrape together dinners as unemployment soared.

"This crisis has forced us to end the 'each man for himself' mentality, to look at what we can do together to get ourselves out of this mess," said Katerini.

Greek crisis prompts a rethink on food waste - Yahoo News UK

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