SAVE FOOD at World Food Day

"We've got to do more!" Düsseldorf's trade fair CEDO an the Food and Agriculture Organisation appeal to industry's sense of responsibility.

Rome, 17.10.2011 – As of now, SAVE FOOD is admitting official sponsors and becoming an international campaign to foster corporate engagement in the fight against food loss. This was announced by Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, during World Food Day at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. SAVE FOOD – a collaborative initiative of the FAO and Messe Düsseldorf – got underway in May 2011 at the world’s leading trade fair of the packaging sector, interpack, with an international congress at which experts from industry, politics and civil society discussed the extent of and reasons for food loss and possible solutions to this problem. Now the next step is being taken by combining the various activities presented at the congress. SAVE FOOD will be informing companies, NGOs and private individuals, networking stakeholders and promoting concrete international projects.

On 17 October, at the invitation of the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Modibó Traoré, Dornscheidt opened an exhibition on the subject of food loss and explained the goals of the campaign in which Messe Düsseldorf and the FAO will be working closely together. “We want to solve global problems by harnessing the power of industry – doing what we do best: networking internationally, publicising issues worldwide and bringing experts from industry together. In other words, creating marketplaces.” SAVE FOOD, he added, is now the action platform for all those who want to bring about change through enterprise. We have to make it clear to industry, Dornscheidt continued, that the fight against food loss creates added value. It gives impetus to business ideas and alleviates need in less developed countries.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has high hopes of the partnership, as Traoré stresses: “We can find solutions only by working together with industry. Messe Düsseldorf is a valuable partner in this context. At the SAVE FOOD congress during interpack, it put the subject of food loss on the agenda of the entire packaging sector. We now look forward to good contacts with this sector and concrete projects under the aegis of SAVE FOOD.”

The scale of food loss and strategies for preventing it in developed and less developed countries still haven’t been conclusively established. At the SAVE FOOD congress, the Food and Agriculture Organisation published the first studies. These put worldwide food loss at 1.3 billion tonnes per year, which amounts to a third of all food production. In view of our planet’s limited resources, it therefore makes more sense to reduce losses along the value chain than to increase production. At the same time, there are big differences between the developing and developed countries. While the lion’s share of food in low-income countries fails to reach the consumer due to inadequate harvesting, handling and logistics, food loss in high-income countries happens most often at the consumer end. The reasons for this are manifold. Innovative packaging solutions will play a major role in reducing food loss in both cases.

As a platform for corporate engagement, the SAVE FOOD initiative will continue to support and foster this research work in order to create a basis for effective countermeasures, Dornscheidt promises. “We have to pool our expertise. We have to show that we are taking action and tackling this huge challenge together with the FAO – as companies, NGOs or private individuals.” Talks on a joint international development project of the trade fair company and the FAO are underway. Two companies from the packaging industry, BOSCH Packaging Technology and MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller, have already pledged their support. Both have already demonstrated their commitment with projects in developing countries.

The next step is already being taken during the week of seminars to accompany World Food Day. On 21 October, the FAO will be presenting the SAVE FOOD initiative to international representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations. Experts will be highlighting the problem of global food loss and outlining current solution approaches and strategies. Christian Traumann, Managing Director of Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller and President of interpack 2011, as well as Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Food and Packaging Machinery Association within VDMA (the German Engineering Federation), will be explaining possible solutions from the packaging sector. Film director Valentin Thurn will be showing excerpts from his current documentary “Taste the Waste”.

Already available to those interested is the website www.save-food.org, which is targeted mainly at business enterprises but also addresses all other stakeholders. Its purpose is to publicise information on SAVE FOOD projects, encourage dialogue between participants via social media and serve as a discussion platform for one of the greatest challenges of the present day.

About SAVE FOOD
The SAVE FOOD initiative is a joint campaign instituted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Messe Düsseldorf GmbH to fight global food loss. SAVE FOOD aims at networking stakeholders in industry, politics and research, encouraging dialogue and helping to develop solutions along the food value chain. One of its aims is to enlist the support of industry in initiating and sponsoring its own SAVE FOOD projects. SAVE FOOD premiered in May 2011 with an international congress at interpack, the world’s most important trade fair for the packaging industry. Further details can be found at www.save-food.org.

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