In August of 2*20 (starting to feel like 2020 is a bad word), I read about the Coalition of Action to End Global Food Waste on SustainableBrands.com (the actual link to the article is here) and I got all excited. Why?
After all, isn’t this just another attempt at big businesses to market their way out of accountability? I sure hope not. I choose to believe the democratization of information and the level setting of accountability brought on by the internet means brands cannot hide.
Food waste, according to the SB article, is the third largest contributor to GHG emissions behind the US and China, so it’s impact on our globe is doubly problematic. It’s hurting us financially in the short term ($1–2 trillion worth of food is lost or wasted every year globally), hurting our people (if we used 25% of our wasted food it would have fed every human on the planet), and killing our environment in the long run.
Packaging has a role to play here also. Our industry needs to work with these food companies to ensure the packaging being utilized is the absolute best. The climate impact of lost food is FAR greater than the impact of using less than ideal materials like EPS and plastics.
Of course, the ideal situation is both. We need to strive for greater innovation in food packaging to allow for the food stay viable longer and be able to have end of life of the packaging that does little to no harm.
However, if all we are doing is focusing on the end of life of the packaging and forgetting the primary object of protecting the food to the best of our ability, we are doing more harm than we are good.
So let’s celebrate what Ahold Delhaize, Barilla, Bel Group, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Majid Al Futtaim, McCain Foods, Merck Animal Health, Metro AG, Migros Ticaret, Nestlé, Sainsbury, Tesco and Walmart all signed up for…
And let’s hold them accountable to drive our waste down from 33%