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How to Reduce Corporate Food Waste? There’s an Online Hub for That

grocery store bananasHundreds of leading companies — Unilever, Nestlé, Anheuser-Busch InBev, among them — have committed to halve food waste within their operations by 2025, compared to a 2016 baseline.

A new online hub where corporations can exchange information and solutions for reducing food waste can help them achieve their goals.

Further With Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions is now live. The website is a project of the US Department of Agriculture, the EPA and a partnership of 11 industry and nonprofit organizations to help achieve the US goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030.

“Many companies…are waking up to the fact that food loss and waste is a major challenge with dire social, economic and environmental impacts,” said Liz Goodwin, senior fellow and director, food loss and waste, at the World Resources Institute, one of the nonprofit partners. “The question for many is: what does it mean for me and my organization and what can I do about it?”

Other partners include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Feeding America, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Innovation Center for US Dairy, National Consumers League, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Restaurant Association, World Wildlife Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation, which also provided major funding for the project.

The website features content on best practices for preventing loss and waste, and recovering and recycling food; educational materials; research results; and information on existing government, business and community initiatives.

Its resources page, for example, includes a food waste management calculator, webinars covering sustainable food waste management and US food waste comparison data — all tools that can help businesses reduce food waste.

This can also help companies save billions of dollars each year. The US Department of Agriculture estimates the food retail industry lost almost $47 billion in 2010 (the most current figures) from food losses — that’s 8 percent of their food supply.

A variety of sectors, including manufacturers, retailers and the hospitality industry, can achieve business benefits from the tools available online at Further With Food, Devon Klatell, associate director of strategic planning at The Rockefeller Foundation told Environmental Leader in an earlier interview.

“Manufacturers sit at an early point in the value chain, which means they can impact sourcing, supply chains and distribution — three areas where food is often wasted,” Klatell said. “Many of these organizations are already driving action and innovation on reducing food waste — for example through upcycling byproducts not traditionally viewed as waste, installing waste-to-energy generators, and making line optimization changes — and have reaped benefits such as reduced costs and energy generation. The Further With Food hub will enable sharing of best practices and coordination among manufacturers to streamline and coalesce efforts. For those manufacturers who have yet to enter the food waste arena, this virtual resource can spark ideas and encourage action.”

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