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Food waste discussion in Moscow focuses on local, global best practices

Discarding food appropriate for human consumption is a waste of resources that negatively impacts the climate and the environment. Yet, there is a set of proven solutions that could help tackle food waste – provided that all actors in the food supply chain are ready to get involved and that the public embraces responsible purchasing and consumption habits.

This message dominated a free-flowing discussion on 18 July about the challenges of promoting the reduction of food waste in the Russian Federation, spearheaded by a keynote presentation from Katerina Antanevich, an expert with the FAO Liaison Office in Moscow.

The round-table discussion was organized by the newly created Smena Food Waste project and held at the Danilovsky Market in Moscow.

In addition to explaining the scale and severity of food waste, the FAO expert highlighted several conceptual approaches to addressing the issue:

  • Reduction and prevention: on the front lines, food losses can be mitigated through upgrades to harvesting technologies, storage, processing, logistics, and retail sales.
  • Communication and cooperation: Only through close interaction between food producers and suppliers can the optimal balance of supply and demand be achieved. For example, optimizing purchase orders through the application of smart technologies would cut the volumes of unsold products, both in supermarkets and in restaurants.
  • Norms of appearance for fruits and vegetables: “Crooked” bananas and cucumbers that possess the same nutritional qualities as their more “attractive” cousins should be treated fairly and reach the end consumer.
  • Government policies: Legislation in the Russian Federation could be modified to address the issue of taxes on food passed to charity foundations and food banks.
  • Re-use and redistribution: Retail chains, restaurants and hotels should cooperate with food banks on facilitating the transfer of food products nearing their expiry dates.

The forum also featured a question and answer session moderated by journalist Natalia Palacios, the driving force behind the Smena Food Waste initiative. Guest speakers included:

  • Yulia Nazarova, vice president of the charity foundation Food Bank Rus;
  • Olga Kaverina, Corporate Social Responsibility manager at PepsiCo Russia;
  • Kirill Pogodin, leading Russian expert on catering, founder of the CateringConsulting.ru project and vice president of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia;
  • Alexey Panov, director of digital marketing at Le Pain Quotidien (Russia);
  • Anna Uspenskaya, founder of the Foodsharing.ru (Moscow) project; and
  • Mikhail Kryukov, head of the Dobronomika charity project.

The discussion addressed the realities on the ground in Russia, including the operation challenges for the first Russian food bank, Food Bank Rus; problems in optimizing the food supply chain; the Zero Waste initiative in the restaurant business; food waste in catering; the operational model of the food-sharing initiative; and support for the needy and the poor.

Nikita Poderyagin, the chef of trendy Moscow restaurant Bjorn, refreshed the discussion by treating the participants to kvass, a traditional Russian non-alcoholic beverage typically made from rye bread but this time produced from spelt bread and vegetable peelings. Mark Statzenko, chef at Moscow’s StandArt hotel, also offered his creations: chips made from beet peel and celery, and apple chutney sauce produced from apple peels, cores and stems.

The reduction of food loss and waste is a key component of Sustainable Development Goal 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns worldwide.

24 July 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation

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