And remember: measure what you treasure!
“Don’t let this be another conference where you listen to some speakers and say, “well that was nice, I’m going to turn back to my life.” Instead, think about two or three concrete actions that you can take. Think about who you can involve and partner with to address food loss and waste within your world. You don’t need to immediately solve the global food loss and waste issue, but every little bit adds up.” – Brian Lipinski, World Resources Institute
The Food Waste Fest is your yearly opportunity to rediscover the true value of our food. From an ecological, financial, and social stance, reducing food waste always gives a positive return on investment.
In 2022, measuring food waste is a hot topic. Sure, it’s not always easy to do, but it always pays off. If there’s one thing we hope you remember, it’s that measures do turn into treasures.
For every dollar a business invested in measuring food loss and waste, it yielded 14 dollars in return. Once you have a handle on what’s happening, you see the problem. You start taking action without even realizing it.
Brian Lipinski - World Resources Institute
I strongly believe in the principle: 'Target, Measure, Act'. Because measuring food loss is the essential first step for any organisation in order to reduce food loss. It raises awareness, and more importantly, it allows for precise actions to be taken and implemented.
Hilde Crevits - Flemish Vice-President and Minister of Agriculture
“For every dollar a business invested in measuring food loss and waste, it yielded 14 dollars in return. Once you have a handle on what’s happening, you start taking action without even realizing it.”
Brian Lipinski is a leading author on food loss and waste at the World Resources Institute. He explains the why and how of measuring food waste and stresses how important it is that we respect and measure our nutritional treasure.
For Belgian’s biggest retailer, Colruyt Group, mapping food loss is one of the biggest KPIs. “Colruyt Group was the first retailer to publish their figures on food loss. For us, it is a KPI and we want our stakeholders to know how we are doing.
In 2021, we had a loss percentage of 0.79% of all our products. That loss represents approximately 80 million euros per year.”
The major challenge is risk-sharing between retailers and suppliers where a very high level of confidence is needed to implement structural changes by collaborating closely with strategic suppliers, differentiating food loss from waste, and enabling retailers to reprocess food products.
The Wallonian government is strongly committed to transitioning towards a more sustainable and circular economy as part of their Green Deal. Now, they are investing in canteens to obtain the label of ‘Cantines Durables’ (sustainable canteens)’. Manger Demain is the organisation of experts that supports canteens into achieving this label. But how do they do this? And what does the label entail? Cybill Prigent from Manger Demain unveils all.
Fighting food waste has always been a strong commitment for Bel, famous for their iconic brands such as La Vache Qui Rit, Mini Babybel, Maredsous, Kiri,… – starting from the nature of its products sold in single portions, reinforced by optimized processes at every stage and completed with dedicated partnership to raise awareness beyond its own activities. Mindful of always getting better, Bel joined the 10x20x30 initiative to thoroughly qualify and quantify its food waste via the WRAP methodology. Hélène, CSR Manager at Bel Belgium, shares all about Bel’s way of measuring and reducing food waste, how this waste warrior spirit is passed on throughout the whole value chain and concrete example of action plan at local level.
Sodexo is ambitious when it comes to the fight against food waste. In order to have a clear understanding of waste sources, Sodexo transitioned to using a data-driven food waste prevention program called WasteWatch. Valentine Boone tells all about the valuable insights this program offers, about Sodexo’s ambition as a WAW Brand and about how they will reach their food waste targets.
As Valentine puts it: “What gets measured, gets done.”
Some inspiring words to live by!
Flanders has set the target to reduce food loss with 30% by 2025. To that end, the Action Plan Circular Food Loss and Biomass (residual) flows was developed. One of the actions of this plan focuses on the Target-Measure-Act approach in different sectors. In this, measurement is a key driver for action. Flemish Minister for Agriculture Hilde Crevits closed the online conference with encouragement and gratitude.
Drum roll, please… The four well-deserved winners of the Food Waste Awards are:
A massive congratulations to all candidates and thank you for all that you do in the fight against food waste. You’re all heroes!
Many intercommunal waste handelers already measure food waste in municipal waste collection. Even though this should be the last resort for consumer food waste, MIROM found on average 25.8 kilos per year per inhabitant in their waste bin. In this workshop, intercommunal waste organisations were matched with the local governments within their region.
“It’s time to start sowing seeds, starting with small actions!” – Sanne Boelens, City of Halle.
“With a broad support base, you can have a large impact on food waste, even with smaller budgets.” – Carol Douyere, Recupel vzw.
Host: Food Waste Alliance, Flanders Food, Alpro
Food waste measurement was the hot topic of this workshop! Together with several food companies, we looked into different ways of defining food waste, measuring, and reporting. Juliane Greff inspired us all and showed how pioneer Alpro measures and reports on food waste. All food companies challenged themselves and discussed how they could optimise current measurement methods and what is needed to do so.
“We definitely need to tackle the misery of food waste as a collective.” – Hélène Delabye, Bel Belgium
Host: FoodWIN, Let us
With the diverse audience present at the workshop we quickly came to a well rounded discussion. The core is clear: producers and manufacturers are very dependent on the demand of their buyers. This demand is difficult to predict however. Consumer behaviour is difficult to predict for the retail sector and a lot of information gets lost along the way.
To anticipate fluctuations in supply and demand, strong communication between buyer and supplier is pivotal. Within the workshop, the will of both parties to engage in that conversation was amplified. The shared goal of reducing tonnes of food waste on both sides paves the way for more intense collaboration. The framework of ‘Food Waste Pioneers’ offers a neutral setting to facilitate this collaborative process. It takes you from a pilot project to a scaled initiative that serves many clients/suppliers!
Food waste is omnipresent in canteens, between 30-40% of all food ends up in the waste bin. How can a canteen reduce this staggering number? How can you measure most efficiently? And what about after the measurement?
Many pioneers from the canteen sector that already measure their food waste shared their insights and practical tips. We delved into a conversation with all canteens on the topics of nudging, offering great service for the client whilst reducing food waste, bettering communication between kitchen, staff and client.
“All the stories shared make it clear that it is possible to reduce food waste. I know want to share that message with the kitchen we collaborate with.” – Cindy Paelemans – Province of Antwerp
“We definitely caught on the measuring bug, we see the importance and want to continue this work.” – Linda Verhaeghe – City of Oostende
Host: ILVO, Boerenbond
What food waste should we measure at farm level? What to do with the data? In this workshop, we aimed to make sense of measuring at farm level in a practical manner. Concrete tools such as reporting templates do exist, and need further refining to maximise their potential at farm level. We also discussed inspirational examples from the UK and how the insights from that work can foster collaborations at farm level within Flanders.
Host: Horeca Vlaanderen/Horeca Academie
The field to plate journey is the pillar of reducing food waste. By shortening the distance, culinary products can be used for the full 100% when they are produced biologically. That allows horeca staff to use products from top to bottom, without wasting a single bit.
We translated “measuring is knowing” to weighing and calculating. This way of working is now so popular because it’s much more lucrative than old ways of working.
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