Food loss and waste: Press conference to join forces on urgent prevention actionsLast Updated : 29 September 2022
Valencia, 27 September 2022 - Roughly 1/3 of the food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted. To drive attention to this urgent issue, the World Sustainable Urban Food Centre of València (CEMAS) organised jointly with the Sabri-Ülker Foundation from Turkey and the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), an international press conference on the 27th of September. They were joined by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to showcase good practices from actions done across Europe and give advice on how to join forces on the way towards reducing food loss and waste. The press-event was opened by a word from Mr Raschad Al-Khafaji, Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and Belgium.
It’s key to work together on this complex challenge
Joining a global call to action for public and private entities and consumers, CEMAS, Sabri-Ülker Foundation and EUFIC held the conference at the CEMAS premises in Valencia, in the context of FAO’s International Day of Awareness and Action on Food Loss and Waste on the 29th of September. Given the size and complexity of the problem, collaboration is crucial: “Only with harmonised methodologies and strategies we will be able to achieve tangible results that are urgently needed. The actions presented today are good practices to build on and of course, extend.” said Vicente Domingo González, Director at CEMAS.
Food waste initiatives in Spain, Turkey and beyond
During the press conference, Mr. Vicente Domingo González, Director at CEMAS, showcased how the challenge of food loss and food waste needs to be tackled by all stakeholders – ranging from Mercavalencia, the largest supply market in the city, to University of Valencia establishing protocols via big data analysis to information campaigns for citizens.
Ms Selen Tokcan, Secretary General of the Sabri-Ülker Foundation, discussed their experiences with food waste prevention initiatives in Turkey, such as a food waste education campaign for children, done together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The project called Balanced Nutrition Education Project that the Foundation has been conducted for 11 years will be much more effective soon with a new tool developed by FAO. This collaboration aims to meet the demands of the public about the causes of food waste and ways to reduce it, also involving children.
In addition, the Sabri Ülker Foundation shared the results of a new research on food waste conducted by Prof. İrfan Erol in Turkey, including 2400 citizens as well as a comprehensive literature review to evaluate a data collection tool and its applicability in Turkey. “The most remarkable outputs of the study: Individuals living in Turkey consider ‘buying as much as they need’ as the best measure to minimize food waste and 6 out of every 10 participants think that it is necessary to raise awareness about food waste in basic education." said Prof. İrfan Erol.
Ms Zeynep Özkan, Head of European Union Harmonization Department at the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, showcased the Save Your Food Your Actions Matter awareness-raising campaign, organised in cooperation with FAO within a programme that provides support in developing national strategies to reduce food loss and waste.
The project, that aims to raise awareness of food waste at an early age, has already reached to 7 million students, teachers and parents in 11 years. As Turkey's most comprehensive and sustainable education project, this new training module will be one of the most important steps to fight against food waste.
Advice on information campaigns that help to reduce food waste at home
Dr Laura Fernández Celemín, Director General of EUFIC, showcased their social media action and awareness campaign on food waste from 2021, providing consumers with actionable tips to reduce food waste.
On the day of the press event, EUFIC also launched a webinar in which EUFIC’s Research Lead, Dr Betty Chang, presented best practices for information-based campaigns to reduce food waste, based on recent findings from the scientific literature and EUFIC’s 2021 food waste campaign. For example, food waste interventions can be strengthened by tailoring them to a specific audience, including behavioural change strategies, and collaborating with other food waste actors.
The information is summarized in a toolkit, a brief how-to-guide on designing and reporting on information-based food waste reduction interventions. Plus, you can find the answers to all the questions submitted during the event here.
- Food waste in Europe: statistics and facts about the problem | EUFIC
- International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste 2022
Examples of initiatives
- "Save Your Food Your Actions Matter": Online awareness campaign to stimulate action along the food supply chain in Turkey. Organised within the “Reduction of Food Loss and Waste in the SEC Countries” project that is implemented under the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture and aims to assist Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to develop national strategies and action plans for reducing food loss and waste (FLW).
- Food waste education campaign for children: FAO and the Sabri-Ülker Foundation collaborated to distribute “Do Good: Save Food!” teaching manuals to over 6 million students, teachers and parents in 20 cities across Turkey.
- Social media action and awareness campaign on food waste: Done by EUFIC in 2021 and facilitated in Turkey by Sabri Ülker Foundation to provide actionable advice to consumers on how to save food waste at home.
About the organisers
World Sustainable Urban Food Centre of València (CEMAS) is a joint initiative between València City Council and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, created to identify, classify, disseminate and raise awareness about the important challenges facing cities and the general population in food and nutritional issues.
The Sabri-Ülker Food Research Foundation has the objective of enhancing nutrition science and knowledge, with a special focus on the Turkish population and regional neighbours. The non-profit organization provides the public with accurate and reliable information on foods and nutrition based on science, legislation and applications at national and international levels.
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a consumer-oriented non-profit organisation, founded to make the science behind food and health more accessible and easier to understand among the public. EUFIC’s mission is to produce science-based content to inspire and empower healthier and more sustainable diets and lifestyles among European citizens.
Marie-Christine Thurm, Media relations, EUFIC, firstname.lastname@example.org