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SAVE FOOD players unite under FAO umbrella

In the run-up to the global SAVE FOOD Congress in May 2014, the initiative’s representatives, both industrial and civilian, met at the Partnership Event for an initial exchange of ideas.
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FILED IN:  Trends and Issues  > Global


Together with more than 150 participants from all over the world, the SAVE FOOD Initiative discussed past and future cooperation at its first Partnership Event in Rome on December 10 and 11, 2013. All stakeholders from industry and agriculture, associations, initiatives, and NGOs as well as the public sector have thus taken another step in their joint effort against global food losses and waste.

Following the opening address by Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director General of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and Bernd Jablonowski, Director interpack & SAVE FOOD of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, the exchange of views between stakeholders from all over the world at the Partnership Event was a valuable contribution towards strengthening the SAVE FOOD network. At the headquarters of FAO, the general consensus in more than 20 presentations and the related panel discussions was that a common approach was most important in solving this problem, which concerns all segments of the food chain equally. Private industry in its capacity as producer, processor, and supplier to consumers will have a key role as the driving force in this effort.

The wide spectrum of presentations reflected the diversity of the content associated with this subject: while the issue of “food waste” dominated the first day of the event, the second day was dedicated to “food losses.” In their presentations ranging from food production and supply chain and consumer related aspects to the associated socioeconomic and environmental impact, the speakers covered all aspects of the food chain.

“The SAVE FOOD Initiative is the best example for addressing problems in a holistic approach. Food losses and food waste are associated with the entire food chain. It is therefore paramount that activities to resolve this problem come from a large number of different areas so that we can jointly address this challenge,” said Daniel Gustafson.

“We all came here to reduce the losses in our food supply. Using our refrigerated containers, we have been successful in optimizing fruit and vegetable transport and reducing the cost by two thirds. And this is only one example of how private industry combined with suitable local expertise can contribute to a solution for this problem,” stated Erik Hogh-Sorensen, Head of Communication at Maersk Container Industry.

“The subject of the SAVE FOOD Initiative is of fundamental significance for a continent like Africa. From the viewpoint of developing countries, the emerging perspective is that we do not yet have the necessary technology to sufficiently conserve our food. We therefore look for opportunities to solve this problem. Be it by investments, assistance for smaller companies, or creating new jobs,” underlined Chukwudike Benson, President of the Society Against Poverty and Hunger in Nigeria.

SAVE FOOD is a joint initiative of Messe Düsseldorf and FAO which has also been supported by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) since the beginning of 2013. Its objective is to identify specific approaches to reduce international food losses and waste by combining the strengths and expertise of its members from industry and public sector organizations. This effort includes the entire food value chain from producers, the logistics industry and the food trade all the way to the consumer. As the leading international trade fair for the packaging sector and its associated process industries, Messe Düsseldorf’s interpack takes on a leading role. In particular, Messe Düsseldorf contributes the competence of its international contacts to both industry and associations.

The next milestone on the route to a solution for one of the most urgent problem of our times will be the second global SAVE FOOD Congress, which will be held on May 7 and 8, 2014 during the upcoming interpack 2014 trade show. It will bring high-ranking experts from industry, politics and the civil society to Düsseldorf, Germany to discuss the issue of food losses and food waste and to chart the future course for their shared concern.


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The large amount of food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. We should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of perishable food items close to their expiration on supermarket shelves causes waste. The consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior might be one of the weakest links of the fresh food supply chain. Why not encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill? The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables automatic applications that offer dynamic incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates. The “End Grocery Waste” application, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint. You can look this application up at EndGroceryWaste site. Rod, Chicago, IL

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