SAVE FOOD: Campaign against global food loss now open to companies

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Düsseldorf trade fair chief and representatives of interpack present the next steps at the World Food Day in Rome.

As of now, SAVE FOOD is admitting official sponsors and becoming an international corporate campaign in the fight against food loss. This was announced by Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, during World Food Day at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. SAVE FOOD – a collaborative initiative of the FAO and Messe Düsseldorf – got underway in May at interpack 2011 with an international congress at which experts from industry, politics and civil society discussed the extent of and reasons for food loss and possible solutions to this problem. Now the next step is being taken by combining the various activities presented at the congress. SAVE FOOD will be informing companies, NGOs and private individuals, networking stakeholders and promoting concrete international projects.
On 17 October, at the invitation of the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Modibó Traoré, Dornscheidt opened an exhibition on the subject of food loss and explained the goals of the campaign in which Messe Düsseldorf and the FAO will be working closely together. “We want to solve global problems by harnessing the power of industry – doing what we do best: networking internationally, publicising issues worldwide and bringing experts from industry together. In other words, creating marketplaces.”

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has high hopes of the partnership, as Traoré stresses: “We can find solutions only by working together with industry. Messe Düsseldorf is a valuable partner in this context. At the SAVE FOOD congress during interpack, it put the subject of food loss on the agenda not only of the entire packaging sector, but also of the other stakeholders involved in the food value chain. The huge media interest in the congress was also very gratifying. We now look forward to good contacts with this sector and the concrete projects of the SAVE FOOD initiative.”

During the week of seminars accompanying World Food Day, other multipliers were briefed on the campaign. The FAO presented SAVE FOOD to international government representatives from Cameroon, Senegal and Congo, among others. In addition, experts highlighted the problems of global food loss and explained current strategies for solving them. Christian Traumann, Managing Director of Sepp Haggenmüller GmbH and President of interpack, reported on the role of the packaging industry in connection with the initiative and looked ahead to the next steps. In doing so, he stressed the importance of putting SAVE FOOD into practice and supporting future concrete projects. Essential for this, he stated, is a continuation of the close cooperation between the FAO, Messe Düsseldorf and industry. Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Food and Packaging Machinery Association within VDMA, the German Engineering Federation, then outlined specific technical issues and examples of best practices in the use of packaging technology in the fight against global food loss. The goal, he said, is to explain specifically to smaller food producers in developing countries how technical solutions can help to reduce food loss and then to train them in how to use these solutions. The film director Valentin Thurn showed excerpts from his current documentary “Taste the Waste” that addresses the causes of food wastage in western industrialised nations.

The scale of food loss and strategies for preventing it in developed and developing countries still have not been conclusively established. The Food and Agriculture Organisation published the first studies at the SAVE FOOD congress. These put worldwide food loss at 1.3 billion tonnes per year, which amounts to a third of all food production. Packaging solutions will play a major role in reducing food loss, particularly in developing countries.

Agreement has already been reached on continuing cooperation between the FAO, which immediately after the SAVE FOOD congress in Düsseldorf set up a working group devoted to the subject, and Messe Düsseldorf and interpack. “The positive response and the lively discussions here in Rome show that we are approaching the issue of food loss from the right angle. We shall now pool the resources of all the partners. The first concrete projects have already been discussed with the FAO,” explains Bernd Jablonowski, Director of interpack. The FAO has drawn up an agenda, which is now to be put into practice with the partners. Along with further efforts to understand the mechanisms of food wastage, this will also include raising public awareness of the issue. The ultimate aim is to come up with strategies, set priorities and find specific approaches and methods to solve the problem.

With the campaign now open to industry, two companies from the packaging industry, BOSCH Packaging Technology and MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller, have already pledged their support. Both have already demonstrated their commitment with projects in developing countries. Companies, NGOs and private individuals wishing to join SAVE FOOD as sponsors will find all the information on the initiative and the application form on the website

link to website