How to combat food waste

In a world where 1 billion people starve, both companies and institutions are sure of one thing: the wasting of food needs to be combated.

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UN estimates that 1,300 million tonnes of food are wasted and lost in the supply chain are wasted and lost in the supply chain. In a world where 1 billion people starve, both companies and institutions are sure of one thing: the wasting of food needs to be combated. In fact, FAO calculates that it could avoid 60% of food waste in the world if we take an active role in this objective.

When we talk about the responsible consumption of food, we should distinguish two concepts:

  • Its loss, which refers to any food altered in the supply chain between the producer and the market because of problems in harvest, collection, handling, storing, packaging or transport.
  • Its waste, which is related to the discarding of safe and nutritious food by the consumer. For example, food wasted by people because it expires, direct consequences of a bad management in shopping or the lack of reviewing of food stored in cabinets or fridges at home.

At this point, we can find one of the main problems that current society faces. More than 1,000 million people starve in the world, while around one third of the food produced at a worldwide level is wasted or thrown away, according to the UN data.

That’s why it is important to take an active role in this issue, as we are responsible for reducing food waste. In this regard, we refer both to food and the resources needed to produce them. In other words, it is about using more efficiently the planet’s resources to have a more positive impact on climate change.

This way, a possible solution could be for the food companies to not massively produce anymore and educate the population on the basis of a responsible consumption culture. 

Countries that waste food the most

The United States is the country that wastes food the most, with an average of 760 kg. per inhabitant per year, followed by Australia and Denmark, with 690 and 680 kg/inhabitant respectively.

Concerning Spain, our country ranks 11th in the worldwide ranking and it is the 7th EU country that wastes food the most. According to the Government, Spanish people approximately waste products worth 3,000 million euros a year.

Santander España and Ciudad Grupo Santander, respectively, donate daily the food surplus of the employee restaurants

According to the FAO, around 60% of the food waste in the world could be used by starting more appropriate measures and raising awareness among the implied actors, moving away from the 805,000 million euros that the global economy has to pay for food waste.

Reusing to teach how to reduce and manage

People are so concerned about the responsible consumption of food that governments, institutions and companies have already started to work on a multitude of initiatives to fight against food waste. This is the case of Banco Santander.

This way, since July 2018 and November of this year, Santander España and Ciudad Grupo Santander, respectively, donate daily the food surplus of the employee restaurants which are then stored in adapted storage spaces for the preservation of food to be donated and to offer daily dinners to those who need it the most.

In this regard, Ciudad Grupo Santander, in Boadilla del Monte, with an average of 5,150 daily meals for employees from Monday to Thursday, recently joined to the initiative #CenasParaTodos (Dinners for Everyone), after the success obtained by Santander España in their HQ in Luca de Tena thanks to this initiative launched in 2018.

This project is developed thanks to the agreement signed with the company HOFO (Hope Food) and Sodexo and Mediterránea de Catering, the restauration providers which work in the corporative buildings, and it tries to take advantage of the food surplus and offer thousands of dinners every month to those people who need them the most. This way, it contributes to the promotion of a circular economy and sustainable and respectful activity by the entity, as a responsible bank.

Hope Food (HoFo) is a national initiative launched in 2017 by some friends that didn’t want anyone to go hungry. The deliverers of this company go to the offices of the entity, gather the surplus (mainly stew, rice or pasta) and take them to social soup kitchens.

Currently, HoFo collaborates with 13 soup kitchens and 12 companies. “Waste itself is not serious, but what is serious is the social inefficiency and the people starving when there is a food surplus”, Joseba Iza, one of the people in charge of HoFo, said.

The good news is that society is increasingly aware of this problem: “Every day more and more companies come to us. It is a kind of movement really interested in issues such as ecology, change… All the concern about climate change implies a deepening of social inequalities. There is a special interest in finding a solution to all these issues. At the end, they are linked“.

One of the social soup kitchens that gets the surplus of Santander through HoFo is Real Hermandad del Refugio de Madrid, which helps more than 200 people every day. “Food waste is a very serious problem. In society, there is social inequality when some people throw away what other people yearn for. Therefore, it is plausible that big companies such as Banco Santander are aware and try to remedy this inequality by giving its food surplus to the people in greatest need”, Juan Idarreta, speaker of responsible exercise of the dinner rounds of Real Hermandad, said.

In this way, the role of both companies and institutions is key to reverse the situation. “We should turn the problem into momentum and get a solution for food waste”, he said.

On the basis of its commitment to this cause, Santander usually collaborates with entities such as Federación Española de Bancos de Alimentos (FESBAL) (Spanish Federation of Food Banks) through the participation of its volunteers in the Food Collection, which is held every year when Christmas is coming.

Initiatives not only come from bodies or companies, as there are many people who individually do their best to put an end to this situation. Too Good to Go is an app which was born three years ago in Denmark and now works in 20 Spanish cities. Company makes contact between shops and restaurants and consumers in order to acquire at a really low price the surplus of the enterprises.

The population takes having food available for granted. We buy and waste food without thinking that 1,000 million people starve in the world. That’s why we should urgently fight against food waste. And we should be aware that there is a long way to go.



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