Curbing food waste has gone from being a trend to becoming a strategic axis for the industry and supermarket chains. As can be seen from a study carried out by Aecoc and the Ministry of Agriculture presented this week, 71% of companies in the food -industry- and distribution sector- are much more aware of the problem it poses and already have at least an internal plan based on prevention to prevent your products from ending up in the garbage can. “The data shows how companies are increasingly aware of the importance of review all your processes to avoid inefficiencies that end up generating waste and, therefore, economic losses ”, underlined the communication director and head of the Aecoc project against food waste, Nuria de Pedraza.
The figures of good management referred to by the person in charge of Aecoc are as follows: for every kilo or liter of a given product that is produced in factories now only 0.002 kilos or liters of material that can be used is generated and therefore Therefore, only 0.0004 kilos or liters are wasted. The survey concludes that the main causes that cause a food to end up in the trash, before even reaching the consumer’s basket, have to do with generation of waste, production losses and machinery failures transformation.
The progress in this matter is due to business awareness already reaches high levels with 61% of companies promoting good practices to achieve this end and 51.39% who coordinate actions with their suppliers with the aim of preventing food loss.
During the press conference, Aecoc also mentioned data on the donations made by the food distribution sector during the pandemic. The survey shows that 73.2% of the supermarket chains increased the volume of donations since the beginning of the confinement. In the near future, 53.6% of distribution companies will maintain the current level of this practice to help the most vulnerable, while avoiding waste, compared to 42.9% who plan to return to previous levels once the health crisis is overcome.
On the main barriers encountered during the Covid-19 crisis when making donations, distributors highlighted the difficulty in meeting the large number of requests received, as well as problems of coordination and identification of nearby recipient entities.
In this regard, Pedraza commented that while in 2012 companies only recognized donating surpluses, that is, what was left over, or having agreements with food banks to fight waste, they are currently also adopting measures against waste in production processes. thanks to awareness-raising work within the sector.
Without throwing food at home
Consumers have also become an active part in this direction. In the study of Agriculture and Aecoc it is concluded that in the fourteen weeks that the confinement lasted, food waste decreased by 14% and three out of ten households did not throw food away. This greater citizen awareness was due to the fact that more value was given to food and the effort of a production chain, from the farmer to the point of sale, was recognized, which strove to give an “efficient response” in the middle of a state alarm, as explained by the director general of the Food Industry of the Ministry of Agriculture, José Miguel Herrero. “I think that having become aware of what it costs to produce food will be a trend that will continue at home,” he added.
Spending more time at home also helped build good habits. “Citizens have returned to the kitchen and have returned to give value to food, discovering as the weeks go by, the wealth of seasonal products,” Herrero remarked.
Spanish households wasted 1.352 million kilograms of food, which represents 4.7% of the total, according to 2019 data collected by Agriculture. “These data point to a stabilization of the food waste ratios, which in 2018 grew by 9% and in 2019% remained at an increase of 1%,” Herrero remarked.