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World Food Day, Food Industry & Food Waste

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#Food #Waste
This week has seen a lot of articles about food waste around the world, due to the World Food Day held on October, 16th. Various campaigns are being organized to raise awareness among the public, and dramatic figures are being released. Here is a good occasion to take a look at what big corps in the food and beverage industry intend – or have started - to do about it.

No less than a billion humans suffer from under-nutrition on the planet. This is about 1 out of six persons. Take a look around your open space and imagine… that about 1/3 of global food production is going to waste. Had we learnt to consume more responsibly, most people in need could – mathematically – have food on their plate. To be precise, the total amount of food being wasted by producers, distributors and consumers would suffice to feed 7 times this population.

According to the {{LNK|FAO|}}, Europeans and Americans waste an average of 95 to 115 kg per individual each year, versus 6 to 11 in Africa and Asia. Despite the local habit of requesting a doggy bag, Americans throw 25% of the food they prepare – 31 million tons a year. France scores 5.3 million tons, proportionally equivalent, due to the size of the population. As stated by Tristam Stuart – author of the best seller “{{LNK|Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal|}}” - “if the relationship between food waste in rich countries and poverty throughout the world is neither simple nor direct, it is nonetheless real.” Our lifestyle has indeed, generated a worldwide food crisis.

What do big corps from the food and beverage industry do about it? Here are a few answers:

- Unilever Food Solutions North America started a nationwide program, “{{LNK|United Against Waste|}},” which aims at helping the foodservice industry “tackle the issue of food waste by creating awareness, providing tools and resources and sharing best practices with operators in all sectors of the industry.” Alongside with Domino’s & McDonald’s, Unilever has also signed up to the UK Hospitality and Food Service Agreement lead by the governmental waste reduction group {{LNK|WRAP|}}.

- Sodexo launched the "{{LNK|Stop Wasting Food campaign|}} in 2010 to increase college students wareness on the environmental impact of food waste. “The campaign had one simple goal: winning student support for cutting food waste to curb climate change.” Simple things often turn out to show most efficiency: by calling on all 600 college operations to stop using trays, they managed to reduce food waste by 30% on average. To date, more than half Sodexo-served campuses have given up on trays.

Another initiative worth mentioning, is French TV group Canal+ Free Meal operation - held on Saturday October 13th - based around the concept of feeding 5000 people out of products that were initially to be thrown away: twisted carotts, deformed potatoes, and other fresh but yet disqualified products that are still absolutely edible. The "{{LNK|Global Gâchis|}}" program consists in dispensing awareness raising seminars, anti-waste kitchen lessons, and besides feeding a maximum amount of people for free in the middle of Paris, sending an inspiring message about how much more twisted it is to consume the way we do, than all “strangely shaped veggies” in the world.

Do you know of any other initiatives you could share with us? Please do, and think about this whenever you feel like throwing food away!

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