24 February 2014, Ankara-Turkish Grain Board (TMO) representatives visited FAO’s Sub-regional Office for Central Asia last week, in order to share the striking results of the Board’s Food Waste Campaign – launched as a social responsibility project in the beginning of 2013.
According to FAO studies, every year an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted – equivalent to one third of all global food production. As one of the biggest bread-consuming countries in the region, Turkey is contributing to food waste, which has detrimental environmental impacts as well as serious economic consequences.
“The Bread Waste and Consumer Habits Research,” carried out in connection with the campaign, revealed the extent of food waste in 12 cities of Turkey. It covered households, bakeries, dining halls, student cafeterias, restaurants and hotels.
Final results of the study showed that as much as 6 million loaves of bread per day are wasted, amounting to 2.1 billion of loaves annually.
To demonstrate the impact of the campaign on bread consumption habits and bread waste levels, research was conducted using the same methology in 2008, 2012 and 2013. From 2012 to 2013, an 18 percent improvement in amount of bread waste was achieved. Households responded more strongly than commercial enterprises, achieving an average reduction rate of 40 percent.
Along with public awareness activities, the message of the campaign was spread across the country through conferences, panel discussions, fairs, competitions and exhibitions.
“As a result of increased public awareness on waste, people have started consuming bread more carefully,” said Kayhan Unal, Deputy Director General of the Turkish Grain Board. Total annual expenditure on bread consumption had declined from $11.3 billion to $10.2 billion in the one-year period.
“Improving our knowledge on where food losses occur and what are the causes is indispensable in taking remedial action,” said Mustapha Sinaceur, FAO Representative for Turkey.
“FAO gives utmost emphasis to the strengthened institutional capacity at government and private sector level,” Sinaceur added, “which is also a crucial issue that would help decrease food losses and waste.”
At the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Europe, which will be held in Bucharest from 2 to 4 April, the Bread Waste Campaign will be introduced by TMO a Ministerial Round Table on Food Wastage.