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FoodWIN Food Waste Festival: What are the effective solutions to food waste?

"Waste or not waste" is by no means a problem. In other words, it should start at the FoodWIN Food Waste Festival in Brussels on April 2nd. The festival begins with a set of appalling numbers that cannot be ignored:

"A third of our food is wasted"

"If food waste is a country, it will become the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China."

"Solving food waste is the third solution to climate change"

These words have been said many times, and now they seem to have become mainstream, as if they have lost their meaning. But the truth is, they reflect a tragic reality: food is wasted every day, and the rate of waste is getting faster and faster. Why is this happening and how to solve it?

From policy recommendations to innovative solutions, the festival explored different possibilities to answer these questions. As FoodWIN’s communications manager Elke reminded us, there are many of them. But the most important thing is the cooperation and coordination between all sectors of society.

First, innovation plays an important role, especially in data collection. Because it always starts with data. For David Achard, who developed the Winnow vision, the HoReCa department needed to be able to measure what food was wasted and why. His machine allows restaurants and hotels to accurately measure how much food is wasted, and more importantly, can detect what type of food, so that they can adjust the portions they provide to detect where to take action to reduce leftovers.

But it doesn't stop there, because identifying the tributaries that cause food waste is one thing, but how to deal with these tributaries? Maxime Willems, the founder of Foodlab and Innovation Proef, offers us many possibilities created by discarded products from the food industry. For example, "sauce" is made from parts of shrimp that are usually discarded, such as tails or eyes, which account for more than 60% of primitive animals.

But sometimes, in addition to innovation, simply optimizing the company's processes may be enough. Jean Moreau, the co-founder of WeArePhenix, explained how his company saved more than 15 million kilograms of food in five years by upgrading the shelf life system of the supermarket, while increasing its turnover from 100,000 to 9 million.

Companies and innovation are key, but taking action at the local level and involving citizens in the strategy is equally important. Katharine Fox from the Trifocal project in London and Karen Janssens from the Flanders Foodsavers platform gave us concrete examples. The Trifocal project focuses on the amount of food waste at the consumer level, and its goal is to reduce the amount of waste per person per year by 20%. Then, it involves raising awareness through social media, but also providing specific solutions, such as recipes using food scraps. The platform aims to redistribute surplus food, and by doing so, it also creates jobs.

However, although there are many solutions, food waste is still increasing. For Carina Millstone, executive director of Feedback, this is mainly due to overproduction, or more precisely because large companies prioritize profit in the context of environmental degradation. In addition, farmers are also victims of these practices. When retailers refuse to produce their products, they will pay double the price, one from the products they intend to sell, and the other from the food waste blamed on them. Therefore, a global transformation of the food system is needed, not only to solve the problem of food waste, but also to solve the unfair practices against farmers.

Finally, this is what the holiday reminds us. As we stated in our food system policy briefing, innovation and work at the local level need to be supplemented by a strong overall political reshaping of the entire food chain.

About the latest post

Press release: The unpackaged store market is on the rise, now is the time to adopt policy measures to support it-30/06/2020 Joint press release: Solving the food waste problem in Europe-Bio-based industry provides innovative solutions-15/06 / 2020 Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 and Zero Waste-26/05/2020

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