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Industry disappointed by packaging exclusion from food waste campaign

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Industry disappointed by packaging exclusion from food waste campaign

January 21
10:17 2013

Industry experts have said they are disappointed that the role of packaging in helping to reduce food waste has not been mentioned in a new anti-food waste programme

Yesterday (22 January) the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and partners launched a new campaign to tackle the global food waste crisis.

The Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign – supported by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Feeding the 5000 and other partners, including national governments – hopes to ‘dramatically cut’ the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year and help ‘shape a sustainable future’ by educating consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry on the steps it can take to prevent wasteful habits.

Packaging exclusion

Food Service Packaging Association director Martin Kersch told PN: “The central message on food waste is 100% right. The use of the excellent material from Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign is terrific and good to see Wrap recognised for their work in such an influential forum but sad to see the role of packaging in helping to reduce food waste has not been mentioned.

“This surely would have given a boost to the packaging industry with regard to developing further new solutions to protect food and extend its shelf life while using resources even more effectively.”

Incpen director Jane Bickerstaffe added: “It’s good to see food waste being tackled by these important bodies but it’s a shame they haven’t appreciated that one of the most helpful solutions to the problem is packaging.  Just shows how much harder Incpen will have to work to explain that packaging makes a really positive contribution to sustainable development.”

The new campaign came about after the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012 saw Heads of State and governments commit to a 10-Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Patterns to sustain the world’s food production base, reduce associated environmental impacts, and feed a growing human population.

As well as providing tips to consumers and retailers to ‘accelerate action’ (such as buying ‘funny’, misshapen fruit and veg), the campaign also provides an information-sharing platform for those running campaigns to exchange ideas and create, what it calls, “a truly global culture of sustainable consumption of food”.

“In the UK we have shown how tackling food waste through engaging with consumers and establishing collective agreement with retailers and brands, reduces environmental pressures and aids economic growth,” said Wrap chief executive Liz Goodwin.

She added: “With a rising population, even more pressure is going to be put on resources, and we are excited to be a partner in UNEP and FAO’s Think. Eat. Save. campaign, which is a great start to tackling food waste on a global scale.”

“In the EU we have set ourselves a target to halve edible food waste by 2020 and to virtually eliminate landfilling by 2020; the Commission is planning to present ideas next year on the sustainability of the food system which will have a strong focus on food waste,” said Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.

He explained: “Less food waste would lead to more-efficient land use, better water resource management, more sustainable use of phosphorus, and it would have positive repercussions on climate change. Our work fits perfectly with the launch of this initiative.”

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