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Save Food: Campaign against global food loss expands

Save Food is admitting official sponsors and becoming an international corporate campaign in the fight against food loss.

This was announced by Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, during the World Food Day at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. Save Food – a collaborative initiative of the FAO and Messe Düsseldorf – got underway in May at the interpack 2011 trade fair with an international congress where experts from industry, politics and society discussed the extent, reasons and possible solutions for food loss. Now the next step is being taken by combining the various activities presented at the congress. Save Food will in the future inform companies, NGOs, private individuals and networking stakeholders and will promote concrete international projects.

On October 17, at the invitation of Modibó Traoré, Assistant Director-General of the FAO, Werner M. Dornscheidt opened an exhibition on the subject of food loss and explained the goals of the campaign for which Messe Düsseldorf and the FAO will be working closely together: “We want to solve global problems by harnessing the power of industry – doing what we do best: networking internationally, publicizing issues worldwide and bringing experts from industry together. In other words, creating marketplaces.”

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has high expectations for the partnership: “We can find solutions only by working together with industry. Messe Düsseldorf is a valuable partner in this context. At the Save Food congress during interpack, it put the subject of food loss on the agenda not only of the entire packaging sector, but also of the other stakeholders involved in the food value chain. The huge media interest in the congress was also very rewarding. We now look forward to good contacts with this sector and the concrete projects of the Save Food initiative,” explained Modibó Traoré.

During the week of seminars accompanying the World Food Day, other multipliers were informed about the campaign. The FAO presented Save Food to international government representatives from Cameroon, Senegal and Congo, among others. In addition, experts highlighted the problems of global food loss and explained current strategies for solving them. Christian Traumann, Managing Director of Sepp Haggenmüller GmbH and President of interpack, reported on the role of the packaging industry in connection with the initiative and its next steps. He stressed the importance of putting Save Food into practice and supporting future projects. Essential for this, he stated, is a continuation of the close cooperation between the FAO, Messe Düsseldorf and industry. Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Food and Packaging Machinery Association within VDMA (German Engineering Federation), outlined specific technical issues and examples of best practices for the use of packaging technology in the fight against global food loss. The goal, he said, is to explain specifically to smaller food producers in developing countries how technical solutions can help to reduce food loss and then to train them to use these solutions. The film director Valentin Thurn showed excerpts from his current documentary “Taste the Waste” that addresses the causes of food wastage in western industrialized nations.

The scale of food loss and strategies for preventing it in developed and developing countries still have not been conclusively established. The Food and Agriculture Organisation published the first studies at the Save Food congress. According to these studies, the worldwide food loss is 1.3 billion tons per year, which amounts to a third of all food production. Packaging solutions will play a major role in reducing food loss, particularly in developing countries.

An agreement has already been reached for a continuing cooperation between the FAO (which immediately after the Save Food congress in Düsseldorf set up a working group devoted to the subject) and Messe Düsseldorf/interpack. “The positive response and the lively discussions here in Rome show that we are approaching the issue of food loss from the right angle. We will now pool the resources of all the partners. The first concrete projects have already been discussed with the FAO,” explained Bernd Jablonowski, Project Director of interpack. The FAO has drafted an agenda which is now implemented with the partners. Along with further efforts to understand the procedure of food wastage, this will also include raising public awareness of the issue. The ultimate goal is to develop strategies, set priorities and find specific approaches and methods to solve the problem.

With the campaign now open to industry, two companies from the packaging sector - BOSCH Packaging Technology and MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller - have already pledged their support. Both have previously demonstrated their commitment with projects in developing countries. Companies, NGOs and private individuals interested in joining Save Food as sponsors will find all the information on the initiative and the application form at the Save Food Web site.

Packaging World is proud to be Save Food’s first official media partner. The agreement was signed at the Process Expo in Chicago. Packaging World will help with the process of raising awareness of and seeking solutions to prevent global food losses.

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