Vincent Giz, Deputy Director for Food Policy, French Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The second SAVE FOOD Meeting on 26 September at the Ateneo de Madrid enjoyed a particular privilege: Her majesty Queen Letizia of Spain attended the event jointly held by the SAVE FOOD Initiative, the Spanish Exporters’ and Investors’ Club, as well as the Spanish Commercial Coding Society AECOC/GS1. The monarch serves as a Special Envoy of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The high-calibre speakers representing political, business, retail circles and NGOs shed some light on the different facets of this set of subjects revolving around food waste and losses during the 1-day meeting.
What if wasted food could serve to protect other food? This is the question that a new SAVE FOOD research project has set out to answer. This is interpack’s new face for an initiative that since 2009 has been bringing together international organisations, food producers and packaging manufacturers, to reduce food loss and waste.
With rising prices, disturbances in the delivery chains, climate change and a growing population, the world is faced with a food crisis. At the same time, every year around 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away. By 2030, that figure is expected to rise to 2.1 billion. SAVE FOOD, the initiative founded by Messe Düsseldorf, interpack and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is set to change just that.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project had been partially put on hold. Now, there is a re-start with plans and projects for the future. As an internationally leading trade fair, interpack plays a key role for SAVE FOOD. “We contribute what makes us special: we are an international network, we encourage innovation and call attention to issues worldwide,” says Bernd Jablonowski, Executive Director at Messe Düsseldorf. “SAVE FOOD is an important part of Messe Düsseldorf’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on the environment and on society. SAVE FOOD is our very direct contribution to reaching SDG 12.3 – reducing and fighting the food waste.”
From the field into the home
SAVE FOOD follows a holistic approach to ensure that reducing food loss and waste is technically, economically, ecologically and socially acceptable, feasible and effective. This starts with agriculture, continues with the production of food, the packaging and processing industry as well as retail and finally reaches the individual consumer.
What role does the packaging sector play?
New technologies both help to reduce food loss and to make products safer – one of the central issues for the upcoming interpack, from 4 to 10 May 2023 in Düsseldorf. This trade fair is a very important event for the transfer of knowledge, as well as for networking and inspiration revolving around Processing & Packaging. Around 2,700 exhibitors from around the world are expected.
Research for SAVE FOOD at the Istanbul BAU.
A large study by the Bahçeşehir University (BAU) in Istanbul is among the new projects of the SAVE FOOD Initiative. The goal is to produce biodegradable food packaging from food waste or from by-products of food production. While packaging has a protective function and helps to reduce the loss of food, unrecycled plastic waste, however, is one of the biggest problems for the environment of our time. Innovative packaging materials can offer an important contribution to reducing this waste. Consumers’ growing demand for environmentally friendly, recyclable packaging provides an additional impulse to research biodegradable and compostable alternatives to plastics.
The BAU will work on their pilot project together with a partner from the packaging industry as well as one from the food sector. The study is supported by the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia as well as by interpack. A first prototype will be presented at interpack 2023.
Regional conference “Enabling the change”
The kick-off for the new project is the regional conference “Enabling the change”. Here, the SAVE FOOD Initiative will present the BAU project. The conference focusses on obstacles, progress, limiting conditions and innovations in the context of reducing food waste. The participants are active players in politics, international organisations, food producers, professional associations and trade unions, investors, non-profit organisations, tech companies and scientific institutes. The conference will take place in Istanbul from 5 to 6 October 2022. Ahead of the event, the approximately 150 participants will share Best Cases which have proven efficient for all levels, areas and steps of the food value chain when it comes to fighting different aspects of food loss and waste. The results will enter the FAO database as valuable knowledge.
The conference is held by the FAO together with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, ECO-RCCFS, the coordination centre for implementation of the ECO/FAO Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS), with support from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
About the SAVE FOOD Initiative
The SAVE FOOD Initiative was founded in 2009 by Messe Düsseldorf and interpack, the world’s largest trade fair for the packaging sector and the related processing industry, and has since cooperated with, for example, FAO and the UN Environment programme. As a global alliance, it follows UN SDG 12.3, fighting for a reduction of food loss and waste. After a hiatus due to COVID-19, interpack has been involved in new projects since 2022. The goal is to create public awareness for the issue and to develop counterstrategies and even solutions in cooperation with politics, society and industry. A special focus is put on innovations from the packaging industry.
Photos: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann. Exclusive Exploitation rights with Messe Düsseldorf, Messeplatz, D-40474 Düsseldorf