Head of the Department "Food Policy, Product Safety, Innovation" at the German Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture
After completing a degree in geodetic engineering at the University of Bonn, post-graduate studies of urban and regional planning at Ohio State University (USA) and training at Düsseldorf city council Klaus Heider joined the then Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry in 2001. After working in the fields of rural development and geo-information systems as well as at the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union in Brussels, he took over several executive roles and positions at the Ministry. From 2009 to 2014 Klaus Heider served as the Director of the Office of the Minister and of the Political Staff at the Ministry. Since spring 2014 he has headed the department "Food Policy, Product Safety and Innovation" focusing on nutrition-based prevention and nutrition research, consumer health protection as well as innovation promotion and research management, to name but a few fields.
1. What aspect of the food waste problem is particularly key to your mind?
From an ethical and also ecological and economic perspective we need to use our food resources carefully. Food waste damages our environment, climate, natural resources as well as us people. Commitment to fight food waste is therefore essential and can help us meet the challenges of our times – i.e. climate change.
2. In your opinion what is the best way is to bring about improvements specifically in this field?
To my mind it is particularly important that not just “one path” is adopted here. We have to realise that food waste impacts us all. Through a careful approach to food every stakeholder along the value added chain through to the end consumer can take responsibility without having to make sacrifices.
3. Have you already noticed any positive developments in this field within society?
With our initiative "Zu gut für die Tonne!" (“Too Good to Waste”) we have been able to keep the issue in the public eye for years now. From the entries for the German federal prize, for instance, we know that there are many promising ideas and a high degree of awareness especially among the younger generation about encouraging people to value food and that this is a topic that touches many people.
4. What institutional measures would you like to see taken in the future?
We are currently launching a strategy process on the basis of the initiative “Zu gut für die Tonne!” and we are doing this in dialogue and in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, from the field and farmyard to the end consumer. We want to significantly increase people’s appreciation of food so as to reach our goal of halving food waste by 2030.
5. How do you see the role of the SAVE FOOD Initiative in the fight against food losses and waste?
I see its key contribution in networking with all stakeholders worldwide. Jointly developing solution strategies with experts from business and political spheres and civil society is indispensable for combatting worldwide food losses and waste.