Food waste has been and still is a problem that for several years now, has affected those involved in the food chain. From the primary sector, to the industry, mass distribution and finally the consumers themselves. With an impact that affects a third of worldwide food production, the wasting of food is an issue that concerns and above all reminds us every day of an uncomfortable question: what can you do to avoid it?
Official figures point to consumers as being the greatest culprits in the chain, being responsible for 42% of the food that is thrown away. Consumers are followed by the food industry with 39%, the catering sector with 14% and wholesale distribution with 5%. Leaving to one side the coldness of numbers, the reality reflects the fact that they are all the links in the food process chain that can reduce this waste. And it is clear that this is happening.
This week the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Distributors, AECOC, is holding in Madrid the international ‘Save Food Meeting’, an event that brings together more than 300 European agrifood chain professionals and which seeks to work towards finding a way, from among all the new formulas, to stop food waste This is the fourth year running that this meeting has been held, a result of the global pact signed by more than 300 companies under the name of “Food has no waste, take advantage of it” and of which DIA was one of the main exponents. Among the main objectives of this project is to reduce, from prevention and from the development of efficiency practices, the waste produced throughout the food supply chain and to achieve, even having reduced the percentage of waste, the maximisation of the use of excess product generated throughout the value chain. Accordingly, AECOC has two working committees that meet several times a year to discuss these issues.
The website www.alimentacionsindespercicio.com includes all the details of this project and many of the initiatives implemented by the signatories. The work continues to bear fruit and as a good example of this is that over the last two years, the Spanish mass marketing companies involved in the project have managed to increase the quantity of product, which after not being sold, has been donated to charitable organisations, by 6%, increasing from 27% to 32% the total unsold product fit for human consumption.
Last year also saw the start of the competition “Lluvia de ideas contra el Desperdicio Alimentario” (Brainstorm against Food Waste) with the aim of seeking original ideas to help consumers take better advantage of food. The winning idea, which received the prize “The shop of the year”, was to include recipes for using the leftovers of the products bought and awareness-making ideas on the receipt.
Apart from promoting this project, DIA Group has maintained a permanent agreement since 2009 with FESBAL, The Spanish Federation of Food banks, and with various organisations in other countries to periodically distribute food to the most disadvantaged people. In the 2015 fiscal year, the group once again beat its record of donations to food banks, with 3.96 million kilograms donated.