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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
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First Save Food partnership meeting
On 10-11 December, 167 participants from 40 countries gathered for the first Save Food partnership event in Rome, which aimed to find new ways of working together to reduce food losses and waste. Read the report of the meeting here.


Trend analyser Innova Markets has found that food waste reduction is the top trend for the food and beverage industry in the coming year. The difficult economic situation, combined with an increasing awareness of environmental sustainability, is thought to be behind this trend.

FAO’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific is hosting a photo contest on food loss and waste reduction in Asia. The “Save Food Asia-Pacific photo contest” is open to anyone aged 18 years and above residing in the region.

The 2013 national Campaign for Preventing Bread Waste in Turkey saved about 1 million loaves of bread per day – a total of 384 million 250-g loaves. Most of these savings were made by households, and staff and student dining halls, which recorded a 40 percent waste reduction.

Denmark’s Social Democrats awarded Save Food partner Stop Wasting Food its environmental award, the Svend Auken Prize. Selina Juul received the distinction from Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during the Social Democratic Party’s Executive Committee meeting.

European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said that reducing food waste has obvious benefits for resource efficiency in Europe. Other notable strategies include shifting from animal- to plant-based products with similar protein levels, such as soybeans and cereals.

United Kingdom broadcaster the BBC reports that the Rub & Stub restaurant in Copenhagen is serving food recovered from farms, processors and supermarkets. The restaurant offers meals made from vegetables and fruit rejected by the food industry because of sell-by dates and overbuying.

Pope Francis’s announcement of the Global Campaign Against Hunger is an invitation to continue efforts to end hunger.

The World Food Preservation Center, which advocates the establishment of a global knowledge hub for food loss and waste reduction, has launched a new Web site.

Kenyan university student Irene Njeri Githinji’s village-based grain bank was judged the best idea for reducing food losses in a competition hosted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss national FAO Committee. FAO Agro-Industries Officer Joseph Mpagalile participated in the jury on behalf of Save Food.


The FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa has developed documentaries on food loss and waste for different audiences. The films will be used for awareness and advocacy to support ongoing and future efforts in the region. The documentaries are available in short, producer’s and consumer’s versions.

A large portion of the 30-percent losses incurred by small-scale fisheries in Africa is caused by improper handling and processing. The Indian Ocean Commission and FAO have developed the “Clean Fish, Better Life” campaign to help tackle this issue through the SmartFish project funded by the European Union (EU).

The Food Recovery Network of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has converted an old bus into a travelling restaurant from which it serves food throughout the city of Portland, Oregon, United States of America.

United States broadcaster and online news channel CNBC discusses how food loss and waste can aggravate food insecurity, particularly in conflict and disaster zones. FAO’s Save Food partners the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are also mentioned in the story.

The December issue of the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) newsletter was dedicated to food loss and waste reduction. It featured articles from Save Food and the Danish non-governmental organization (NGO) Stop Wasting Food, and highlighting best practices from the Global FoodBanking Network, the Egyptian Food Bank and DariAcordar, all partners in Save Food.

The European Retail Academy (ERA) featured the Save Food partnership event on its Web page. The retail-centred academic network is a consortium member of the EU Food Recovery Waste Reduction (FoRWaRDd) project, and was represented at the meeting by Dr Bernd Hallier.

A total of €75 billion – €280 per household – could be saved if households, retail and the catering sector in the EU reduce food waste by 40 percent, according to a study funded by the European Commission and carried out by LEI Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. These cost savings would be augmented by agricultural land savings the size of Belgium.

Maersk Container Industry (MCI) has teamed up with Primaria’s Bluezone to improve refrigerated transport. The system works by removing ethylene, a ripening agent, and moulds from produce shipped in containers.

The European Commission is calling for stakeholders to propose, develop and test environmental footprint product and sector rules – including food loss and waste indicators. The call is open to any company with operations in the EU working in the feed, food and drink sectors. It expires on 28 March.

The ENVIFOOD Protocol provides guidance on conducting environmental footprint assessments in the food, feed and drink sectors. The pilot-tested methodology, which complies with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), suggests that further work is needed to take food waste into account and to define default values for such waste.

SAVE FOOD partner SEALPAC has developed a meat packaging solution that it says will extend the shelf-life of fresh red meat at retail. The system combines vacuum packaging with an integrated container, enabling a more appetizing appearance and better taste, thereby contributing to food waste reduction.

SAVE FOOD partner Siemens Home Appliances (Swedish / English) has introduced fridges with hydroFresh and vitaFresh cooling technologies. These features work by monitoring the humidity and temperature in specialized cooling compartments. Siemens says that this maintains food’s nutritional value and freshness for up to three times as long as normal refrigeration.


25–26 January, Syracuse, New York, USA. 212/360 Leadership conference for agricultural students and educators, organized by Future Farmers of America and including a special session on hunger and food insecurity.

6 February, Nairobi, Kenya. Validation of 11 post-harvest loss reports conducted on different crops throughout Africa, commissioned by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

6 February, Brussels, Belgium. GreenCook interregional event for northwest Europe on reducing food waste by strengthening partnerships within the food sector. Save Food will be represented by the FAO Brussels Liaison Office.

14 February, Milan, Italy. The WiGreen Forum for Environmental Sustainability will look at waste from three perspectives: food, environment and economy. (Italian).

17 February. Online launch of the fundraising campaign for a documentary on “The Hunger Code”, or how to feed the world’s hungry with the edible food that is wasted at every stage of the food chain. Shooting will take place in the United States of America, Europe, South Africa and Israel. Preview here.

26–28 Feb 2014, Rome, Italy. Ecosustainable Food Packaging Based on Polymer Nan Materials, hosted by European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST). Save Food will participate in this event.
The Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Institute (ITENE) featured the Save Food partnership event on its Web page. Business Development Manager Vanessa Delmer participated in the “Food Production and Trade” panel on approaches to present and future packaging in the context of Save Food.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica featured the One Third photo exhibition by Klaus Pichler, made in support of Save Food. The exhibition highlights global food waste by showing common food items artistically posed in different stages of decay.


FAO Livestock Development Officer Olaf Thieme presented Save Food at the Process Expo food processing and packaging trade show in Chicago, United States of America, which was attended by 19 000 industry professionals. He then went on to Washington DC to meet staff of institutions such as the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for Strategic International Studies.

The FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa hosted a workshop on food security and nutrition in Tunis. Two days of the conference was dedicated to food loss and waste reduction, and deliberations on launching a regional Save Food network for the Near East.

In December 2013, the FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, the Mauritanian Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy and the Arab fish marketing centre InfoSamak hosted a regional conference on food security and income generation through reduced losses and waste in Mauritanian fisheries.

Jorge M. Fonseca represented Save Food at the Horticulture Symposium on Less Waste, More Produce, organized by Bayer CropScience. The meeting discussed why technological improvements tend to reduce food loss while improved storage, processing and transport technology do not appear to reduce waste.

Partnerships (a selection)

WPO is an international federation of national and regional packaging companies, institutes and associations. Packaging plays a huge role in reducing spoilage and retaining nutrition for those who need it most, and WPO is committed to educating people about the value that packaging adds to society.

FRN of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Portland, Oregon, United States of America has teamed up with Save Food to find partners in developing an international model for its food recovery efforts. Last year, FRN recovered more than 30 000 kg of food, which was repackaged, frozen and redistributed.

Spearheaded by martial arts actor Donnie Yen of China of Hong Kong SAR, his wife Cissy Wang and the DotAsia Organisation, Go.Asia (www.go.asia) is a charitable initiative that aims to improve society through collective and individual efforts. It will host the One Third photo exhibition on food loss and waste throughout the month of March.

The Government of the Netherlands has made food security one of its top development priorities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting the establishment of a Network of Excellence to facilitate knowledge sharing on reducing food losses in developing countries through its implementation partner Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research.

The Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, London is a multidisciplinary research, advice, teaching and training centre to support global food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

WUWM is a non-profit association that aims to promote the international exchange of information on wholesale and retail markets, with a view to improving their construction, organization and management.

28 February, Sheffield, UK. Launch of On Course for Zero Waste, WRAP UK’s free course showing companies and organizations how they can effectively reduce waste and boost profits. Sign up or read more here.

28 March 2014. The European Commission’s call to volunteers to propose, develop and test performance benchmarks – including for food loss and waste – under the Environmental Footprint Sector Rules expires.

5–11 April, Medellin, Colombia. World Urban Forum 7 Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life. FAO Agricultural Officer Makiko Taguchi will participate on behalf of Food for the Cities and Save Food, and will co-host a side event on the City-Region Food System and Sustainable Urban Development.

18 June, Cape Town, South Africa. Enabling more Inclusive and Efficient Food and Agricultural Systems in Africa, hosted by FAO’s Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division in collaboration with the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), at Stellenbosch University.

This newsletter presents ongoing activities in the area of food losses and waste. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or of any individual partner in SAVE FOOD.

If you have items that you think would fit in the SAVE FOOD news, please send an email to save-food@fao.org, or visit www.fao.org/save-food for more information.

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FAO   Messe Dusseldorf

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