The European Commission (EC) is calling on European citizens to minimise their food waste with its new Stop Food Waste campaign. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the high levels of food which are thrown away and prevent the current figure of 100 million tonnes of waste per year reaching 120 tonnes by 2020. Food loss and waste are estimated to be as high in industrialised countries as in developing countries. Whilst in developing countries over 40% of food is lost after harvest and during processing, in industrialised countries - including in the EU member states - over 40% of food is wasted at retail and consumer level.
The Commission’s website includes information on a variety of initiatives taking place at a regional, national and European level to reduce food waste as well as ongoing food redistribution programmes. The website also explanations of “Best Before” and “Use By” labels in order to overcome common misunderstandings related to what they mean, save money and reduce waste.
The EC is also looking reduce food by funding a number of projects. One of these is the newly launched REFRESH - Resource Efficient Food and dRink for Entire Supply cHain - project. The project includes 26 partners from 12 European countries as well as China. They will work together to achieve a 30% reduction in waste across Europe by 2025.
For more information, visit the European Commission hub for food waste
Image copyright: Vegetables and Bread (Dreamstime.com) by "Mchudo"
A UK town has used innovation procurement to reduce carbon emissions related to its catering contract whilst saving more than one million euros. A case study, featured in the October issue of the EU GPP News Alert explains in detail how the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust successfully engaged with the market to purchase a low carbon catering solution.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, which is located in the north of England, provides a range of health services in the Rotherham area. Following the end of a 15 year catering service contract for Rotherham hospital, the Trust grasped the opportunity to rethink its approach to catering. In 2012, as part of the EcoQUIP project, the Trust initiated a procurement process to improve the quality of catering for patients, visitors and staff. They used stakeholder engagement to define an outcome based requirement and engaged the market in a pre-procurement dialogue. The Trust then went on to manage a pro-innovation public procurement process that encouraged the supply chain to develop an innovative approach to hospital catering services. Rotherham adopted the forward commitment procurement (FCP) model of innovation procurement and developed a pro-innovation procurement strategy. The contract was awarded to the incumbent supplier in March 2015.
A total of 35 companies took part in the market sounding exercise, with five suppliers reaching the competitive dialogue phase. The incumbent supplier responded enthusiastically, ultimately winning the contract thanks to the innovative proposals for waste reduction and their offer to qualify for the UK’s Soil Association award gold standard – one of the UK’s most prestigious environmental accreditations. Over the first five years alone, the Trust hopes to achieve financial savings of just over one million euro (or 800,000 British pounds). Carbon emissions reductions will be measured by the supplier over the lifetime of the contract.
The Water Footprint Network recently produced a Product Gallery which demonstrates the average global water footprint of a variety of food products, including fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. Established in 2008, the Water Footprint Network strives to solve the world’s water crises by advancing fair and smart water use. The Network drives innovation and inspires change in order to ensure that fresh water is shared fairly amongst all people to sustain thriving communities and nature’s diversity.
The Product Gallery draws attention to the significant levels of water needed to produce different foods. Chocolate and leather are the most water intensive products with 17,196 and 17,093 litres of water required respectively to produce 1kg of each product. The difference between meat and vegetable production is also noteworthy. One tomato weighing 250 grams requires on average 50 litres of water, 50% of which is green water, 30% of which is blue water and 20% grey water. Meanwhile, pork meat, which accounts for 19% of the total water footprint of animal production in the world, requires on average 5988 litres of water per kg of pork meat produced.
The meat with highest water footprint is beef which requires 15,415 litres of water per kg produced, although this depends largely on the production system from which the beef is derived (grazing, mixed or industrial), the composition of the feed and the origin of the feed, as surprisingly, feed accounts for 99% of the water footprint of beef.
Envipark is now the 3rd partner in the INNOCAT project to publish a PIN. Over the past year EnviPark, which is an innovation accelerator for businesses looking to use eco-efficient solutions to expand their markets, has carried out a joint audit and needs analysis with ARPA Piemonte focusing on the energy consumption of catering equipment and the organisation of the organisation’s catering service. Envipark identified two priority areas: reducing waste and energy consumption. These will provide ARPA Piemonte with both financial benefits and an improved sustainability impact.
ARPA Piemonte employs approximately 300 workers, 100 of whom on average choose to eat in the staff canteen on a regular basis. They believe that introducing better quality, sustainable food would entice more people to eat at the canteen. ARPA believes that introducing eco-innovative processes could also reduce the significant energy and water costs associated with running the canteen. The awarded catering contract will have a duration of three years and bidders will be requested to: provide an energy efficient service and equipment; minimise the amount of waste produced; and ensure social responsibility along the food supply chain.