Some of the world’s largest food companies have joined an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) initiative to combat food loss and waste in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Called #SinDesperdicio, the platform brings together businesses such as The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé, Grupo Bimbo, Oxxo and Dow Chemical.
IDB said that in the LAC region, 127 million tons of food is wasted or lost each year – an annual average of 223kg per person in a region where nearly 42 million people suffer from acute undernutrition.
In some of the region’s food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, losses exceed 50%. At consumer level, particularly at homes, about 28% of the food is wasted. IDB said the phenomenon takes place all along the food chain: in the production phase, 28% is lost; in handling and storage, 21%; in processing, 6%; in distribution and marketing, 17%; at consumer level, particularly at homes, about 28% of food goes to waste.
Some estimates suggest that at global level, 18% of all productive land and 19% of fertilisers are used to produce food that never gets consumed.
The platform will promote four areas of activity: innovative projects, national and local public policies, knowledge generation, and responsible consumer habits.
In the field of innovation, processes and technologies throughout the production chain will be promoted – from infrastructure that improves logistics, to novel food recovery and donation models.
The platform will also foster public policies in areas such as adoption of labelling standards, norms and incentives for food donation, and support for national and municipal food loss and waste reduction.
In the area of knowledge, efforts will be made to enhance the existing data on food loss and waste levels and their causes.
The initiative will also promote behavioural changes through awareness and training campaigns aimed at minimising food waste among producers, distributors and end consumers.
IDB executive vice president Julie Katzman pointed out that #SinDesperdicio is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to cut per capita food waste by half and reduce losses in the production and distribution chains by 2030.
“Meeting these goals will demand effort from all of us,” she said. “This associates platform is a starting point to reduce food losses and waste, a fundamental agenda to achieve our objective of improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Olga Reyes, The Coca-Cola Company’s public affairs, communications and sustainability vice president for Latin America, said: “We are proud to be making this effort to reduce food loss in Latin America. This is a commitment where we all gain: communities gain, consumers gain, producers gain, and most of all, the environment gains. This will become part of the legacy we leave to the generations to come.”
Grupo Bimbo global sustainability manager Alejandra Vázquez said: “Ever since our foundation more than 70 years ago, it has been our priority to work day in and day out to build a sustainable, highly productive and fully humane company. As founding partners of this platform, we are also taking one more step to fulfil our purpose of contributing to make the world a better place. We commend the IDB for this initiative, and we trust that by joining efforts and synergies, we will all manage to reduce food losses in our region.”
Laurent Freixe, Nestlé’s CEO for the Americas, highlighted the relevance of the alliance for the company. “We have decided to join #SinDesperdicio because we are aware that nobody can tackle this challenge on their own. We need to work together to reduce food waste for the benefit of our planet and the people living in it. Nestlé has set for itself the goal of eliminating the delivery of waste to landfills from all our working centres by 2020, and to work alongside our suppliers and consumers to fight food waste.”
The platform will develop pilot projects in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina with a view to quickly expand to other nations in the region.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019