Food industry must unite to tackle obesity and waste

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sceti: 'Frozen food can be a key part in reducing food waste'
Sceti: 'Frozen food can be a key part in reducing food waste'

Related tags: Food waste, Food

The food industry must engage with frozen food firm Iglo Group’s latest programme to tackle obesity, food waste and unsustainable production, according the firm’s boss Elio Leoni Sceti.

Iglo Group’s ‘Forever food together’ programme – launched in London yesterday (October 14) – aims to tackle the obesity epidemic and stamp out food waste. It wants to achieve this by offering consumers healthier products and encouraging them to only eat what they need and freeze the rest.

The firm is also striving to ensure all its products are responsibly sourced and prepared by 2020.

Iglo’s ceo Sceti said as the business challenged itself with these goals it realised they could not be done alone.

Build a coalition

“We want, by 2020, 100% of our innovation to help customers make healthier choices. Frozen food can be a key part in reducing food waste and ‘Forever food together’ recognises that it is a very large issue that can only be solved together.

“We want to build a coalition building on the work done by Wrap ​[Waste & Resources Action Programme] in the UK and by government. It will extend to manufacturers, retailers and stakeholders to help us achieve these goals.”

Currently, one third of food produced and manufactured globally was lost or squandered every year, he claimed. 

A total of 42% of that waste happened domestically, with the typical family throwing away the equivalent of six meals every week, he added. Eating more frozen food at home could halve this, according to research printed in the British Food Journal​ earlier this year, saving families an average of £250 annually.

The ‘Forever food together’ programme encourages consumers to buy one frozen product with each non-frozen product – aiming for this to replace ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ promotions.

As fruit and vegetables are one of the most wasted food types, Iglo also hopes to convince shoppers to make at least one of their ‘five-a-day’ frozen.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market praised Iglo for creating a programme that encouraged the supply chain to unite to eradicate food waste.

Important

“It’s about the relationships and that’s why this sort of approach that Iglo has taken is important,” ​she said. “You really have to think about the supply chain from the people that are growing it, right down to the consumers.”

The programme’s success would depend on proving that these changes could save consumers money, said Lawrence Hene, director of marketing and grocery retail at Ocado.

“This is a message that … saves waste and has the added benefit of being good for the consumer’s pocket,”​ he added.

The Marine Stewardship Council said at the other end of the scale, Iglo’s sustainable procurement policy was encouraging fisheries to behave responsibly, ensuring future food sources would not be exhausted.

Iglo Group’s policy suggestions: ​ 

  • consumers should make at least one of their ‘five a day’ frozen;
  • ‘buy one – freeze one’ sales promotions to replace buy-one/get-one-free;
  • retailers and manufacturers to select high volume, iconic products to progress towards 100% resource utilisation – from source to plate, supporting the European Commission’s target of cutting food waste by 30% by the year 2025;
  • EU and Member State governments should research: 
  1. the ability of each food supply chain to maximise its resources based on its food preservation methods;
  2. how more freezing and frozen food domestically could further reduce food waste; and
  3. a more consistent way to measure food waste.

Related topics: Supply Chain, Frozen, Obesity

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