tirsdag den 22. oktober 2013

Think.Eat.Save - Let’s be United Against Food Waste

by Selina Juul, Founder of Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark

It’s easy to put the blame of global food waste on the food industry: the agriculture, the industry, the foodservice and the retailers. Too easy. In fact, most of the international reports and experts on food waste point at the above mentioned as the bad guys in the field of food waste.

It’s so very easy to be us against them.

Any yet, by only concentrating on them, it takes the focus away from ourselves – the consumers. It is of course much easier to point fingers at someone else, than admitting that we are all a part of the problem – and we are a part of the solution. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to be united against food waste.

Food waste – a political issue 
Food waste is not only the environmental, resource and moral issue –it’salso becoming a political one. Food waste is the new member in climate debate, and as most of the climate debate is today dominated by the left wing parties and other left wing supporters, the talk about food waste among them has become a new growing trend.

Focus on food waste is good, no matter the political color, but many of the left wing activists tend to view (and attack) the agriculture, industry, foodservice and the retailers as the “Evil Capitalists”, for whom the food waste has always been a big business. Thus, this very one sided light of debate not only scares the agriculture, industry and the retailers away from actually working against food waste – but it also deprives consumers the power to act.

As long as we the people blame the food industry, we take the responsibility off our own shoulders. It’s time to change this mindset – because we are all in this together.

A united stand against food waste 
On October 4th 2013, Denmark was united against food waste. The “United Against Food Waste” event occupied the Copenhagen Town Hall Square – a joint collaboration under the EU-umbrella of FUSIONS alliance against food waste and the FAO/UNEP Think.Eat.Save campaign. The event was unique and the first of its kind, as the entire food value chain was united against food waste: the agriculture, the industry, the foodservice, the retailers, the NGO’s, the consumers and the politicians.

6,000 of consumers, top politicians such as the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Karen Hækkerup and the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten, the CEO of Denmark’s largest agricultural organization Danish Agriculture & Food Council Søren Gade, international food waste expert Dr. Silvia Gaiani, Denmark’s biggest retail chains Coop and REMA 1000, Unilever Food Solutions, top celebrity chefs, NGO’s and charities made a united stand against food waste during the “United Against Food Waste” event in Copenhagen.

The event is a new positive approach to the problem – and a new take on the fight against food waste: good best practice examples from the entire food value chain, free delicious surplus food for 6,000 people, tips and advices for the consumers, speeches by top politicians, top opinion makers and celebrities and a great music and entertainment. The “United Against Food Waste” event inspires, teaches, includes, unites and encourages the people to start a fight against food waste in their own homes. 

This is only the beginning, as the event already got international attention and media exposure – and the plans for the future international “United Against Food Waste” events are already in motion.

It’s about time to show that we are all a part of the solution. Attacking the food industry, while at the same time ignoring the consumers doesn’t work anymore.

Cutting the food waste – an opportunity that cannot go wasted
Within the last five years, with the major effort from Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad), the focus of food waste grew from almost non-existent to almost weekly mentions in the media, radio, newspapers and TV.

Not only our latest TNS Gallup report shows that within the last year, every 2nd Dane has reduced his/hers personal food waste – but the food industry as well started to show some very impressive results:
  • The milk giant Arla Foods Denmark has incorporated the fight against food waste in their 2020 strategy.
  • Denmark’s retail chain REMA 1000 dropped quantity discounts in every shop in entire Denmark.
  • Denmark’s retail chain Irma has saved almost half a million Euro last year by cutting their food waste.
  • Denmark’s largest hospital, Rigshospitalet, has saved 134,073 Euro per year by cutting their food waste.
  • The canteen of Jyske Bank banking company has saved 134,073 Euro within the last one and a half years.
  • The giant Unilever Food Solutions has developed a food waste tool, which can save a canteen up to 80,444 Euro a year.
  • The large tomato producer Katrine & Alfreds Tomater uses wonky tomatoes to make pesto and ketchup.
  • Denmark’s biggest retail chain Coop has started to sell wonky carrots in their stores and signed the Food Waste Manifesto with Stop Wasting Food movement - a pledge to reduce food waste by 10% in all Coop’s stores during the next two years.
Cutting the food waste means saving millions of Euros – and opportunity that cannot go wasted, especially in light of the still present economical crisis.

Join the “United Against Food Waste” movement
Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad) and I personally invite all international stakeholders though out the entire food value chain to join the “United Against Food Waste” movement and to initiate the “United Against Food Waste” events in your countries – no matter the country, the religion or political color. The events can be easily replicated worldwide.

Welcome to a new future in the fight against food waste: a future where we include instead of exclude – a future where we are all united against food waste!