FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Russian partners join SAVE FOOD, aim to reduce food loss and waste

Today the Dairy Union of Russia, Foodbank Rus, Sfera publishing house, and Tara i Upakovka (Package and packaging) magazine became some of the first Russian organizations to join SAVE FOOD – the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction.

An accession ceremony took place here on the opening day of Upakovka-2017, the annual international trade fair of the processing and packaging industry. Set to run from 24 to 27 January, Upakovka-2017 features over 200 exhibitors from 19 different countries.

The ceremony was organized by FAO’s Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, in collaboration with the Moscow office of FAO’s global partner Messe Düsseldorf.

FAO and Messe Düsseldorf are collaborating with donors, international agencies and financing institutions, and private-sector partners worldwide to develop and grow the SAVE FOOD initiative.

The SAVE FOOD initiative aims at encouraging dialogue among industry, research, politics, and civil society on food losses. It regularly brings together different players in the food supply chain for conferences and projects, and supports them in developing effective measures to reduce food losses and waste. Another goal is to raise public awareness of the impact of food waste.

Currently, the SAVE FOOD network has more than 800 partners – public and private, large and small – from all regions of the world and in all sectors and subsectors of the food system.

While SAVE FOOD was first presented at Upakovka in 2013, a full-scale launch of the initiative in Russia took place only today. The event featured presentations by Bernd Jablonowski, project director and officer responsible for SAVE FOOD at Messe Düsseldorf, and Robert van Otterdijk, one of FAO’s leading specialists on the issue of food losses and waste.

“Our strategic goal is to revive the culture of respect for food in Russia,” said Viktoria Krisko, president of Foodbank Rus. “In this regard, we strive for not only reducing food losses in storage, transport and sales, but for also going back to conscious consumption.

“If each of us takes a look at their fridge,” Krisko continued, “and starts counting the volume of food we throw away each year, we will end up with industrial-scale figures. This is particularly disturbing against the background of the large numbers of people around us who have to save on the essentials and need help.”

Today’s accession ceremony was followed by a Conference on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in Russia. The Conference gathered representatives of government, FAO, the private sector, and media.

“Reducing food waste is the most direct and efficient way to reduce industrial impact on climate change,” said van Otterdijk, “but it is extremely complicated because it is a multi-dimensional problem.” He emphasized that causes and solutions to the problem have technical, economic, environmental, social, behavioral, ethical, legal and political aspects. This means that all actors in the national food system need to work together.

Konstantin Laykam, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Service for State Statistics (RosStat), presented the methodology used to estimate food losses in Russia. "Agribusiness, processing and retail organizations are surveyed to estimate the losses, taking account of the whole supply chain (storage, processing transportation and sales). Statistical data confirm that the issue of food losses and waste is highly topical for Russia", - underscored K.Laykam.

Russia may be below the international average when it comes to food waste and loss. According to a 2013 RosStat estimate, 56 kilos of food per person per year are thrown away in the Russian Federation. At the time, it was suggested that some 20-25 percent of all food in Russia remained unconsumed and disposed of before use. In some countries, the figure is as high as 40 percent, according to FAO.

Participants in today’s event agreed that increased awareness of the problem, multiplying partnerships and investing in research are keys to developing an effective food loss and waste reduction programme in Russia.

The SAVE FOOD stand at Upakovka 2017 is doing its part to raise awareness. Divided into four areas, the stand illustrates food waste and ways to reduce it – in the home, when shopping, in business, and with social projects.

24 January 2017, Moscow, Russian Federation