UK food and drink firms welcome euro waste plan

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

The ‘Every Crumb Counts' joint declaration committed signatories to a 12-point plan to cut food waste
The ‘Every Crumb Counts' joint declaration committed signatories to a 12-point plan to cut food waste

Related tags: Waste, Sustainability, European union

British food and drink manufacturers have welcomed a new joint declaration from members of the European food supply chain to tackle food waste.

The document – called ‘Every Crumb Counts’ – commits signatories to working towards preventing food waste and  promoting a life-cycle approach to reducing wastage.

Andrew Kuyk, the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF’s) director of sustainability, said: “This European initiative builds on successful work in the UK to tackle the problem of food waste across the supply chain and help consumers save money and resources.”

He added that the twin pressures of climate change and an ever-increasing population were continuing to drive food and drink manufacturers across Europe to promote more sustainable behaviour.

FDF members were “leading by example” ​through the FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition and work with other industry partners, such as the government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme, he added.

The declaration covers food waste at the production, post-harvest and processing stages, together with wastage at the retail and consumption stages.

Supply chain approach

Stressing a supply chain approach to waste reduction, signatories committed to a 12-fold pledge outlined below.

“Food wastage represents a missed opportunity to feed the growing world population, a major waste of resources and a needless source of greenhouse gas emissions that impacts climate change,”​ according to the declaration. “It also has negative economic consequences for everyone along the food chain when food goes to waste.”

About one third of food for human consumption is lost or wasted globally each year.

Along with the declaration European food manufacturers’ organisation FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) launched a ‘toolkit’ of ideas to help firms cut waste.

Adopting the tools would help firms move towards the FDE’s 2030 Environmental Sustainability Vision, it said.

Isabel Jonet, president of the European Federation of Foodbanks (FEBA), said: “Recovering edible food before it is destroyed and redistributing it to beneficiary charities, taking care of deprived people, is the ‘raison d’être’ of our network of 253 food banks in 21 European countries.

Food waste and hunger

“FEBA thoroughly supports this declaration as we are convinced that building stronger cooperation between food banks and FoodDrinkEurope members is a very efficient and proven way to reduce food waste and hunger simultaneously.”  

Philippe Binard, of the European fresh produce association Freshfel, added: “Food wastage is a highly complex issue, which requires the involvement of all partners in the supply chain in order to tackle it effectively and not just shift it further up or down in the chain.

“There’s no silver bullet solution, but we hope the increased awareness and exchange of best practices within the fruit and vegetable category will help to reduce the level of wastage across the chain.”

Organisations that have signed the declaration include: FDE, FEBA, the European packaging supply chain Europen, the European contract catering sector FoodServiceEurope, the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Freshfel and Europatat – the European organisation for the wholesale potato trade.

 

Every Crumb Counts 12-point pledge

  1. Raise awareness of food wastage along the food chain.
  2. Contribute to the development and dissemination of best practices for identifying and preventing food wastage in consultation with relevant supply chain actors.
  3. Contribute to the development of a common EU definition and methodology for assessing EU food wastage.
  4. Encourage policymakers to pay particular attention to food wastage when developing policy and setting public procurement standards.
  5. Lobby policymakers to develop, together with relevant food chain players, guidelines for Member States to optimise the use of food that has been withdrawn for quality reasons but is still safe.
  6. Encourage policymakers to increase the focus of EU development cooperation on measures to prevent food wastage in developing and low-income countries.
  7. Encourage food operators to help consumers make better use of information.
  8. Encourage food operators to provide information about the actual meaning of ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’ dates
  9. Work with food and packaging operators to further innovative ways to guarantee and preserve food quality, freshness and safety, including by looking for packaging solutions that allow shelf-life extension.
  10. Pay particular attention to food wastage when evaluating applications for new innovations that have the potential to prevent spoilage.
  11. Help fund research on innovation to prevent food wastage.
  12. Take into account packaging’s role in protecting food and thereby preventing food wastage in all EU and member state waste and packaging-related policies.

More information about the declaration can be found here.

Related topics: Supply Chain

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