UK Food Manufacturers and Retailers Agrees to Fight Waste

March 16, 2009

I have often posted on the waste issue – highlighting the problem, looking at solutions and reporting on achievements. Now, in the UK, we have a real agreement in place and initial results that look promising.

 

Retail homepage - WRAP.jpg

from: WRAP
(click image for full story online)

 


Retailers and manufacturers are committed to working together to cut the UK’s household food waste by 155,000t or 2.5 per cent of the total waste by the end of 2010 – equivalent to $520 million and 700 000 tons of Carbon Dioxide a year.

The agreement is part of WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign and has already achieved The campaign which was launched in November 2007 had already delivered a reduction of 110,000 tons in the annual amount of household food waste by March 2008.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, bakery products, dairy, meat and fish products are the biggest sources of household food waste, according to WRAP. The latest initiative will focus on eliminating waste by developing more effective labeling; pack size range, storage advice and packaging to keep food fresher for longer.

This is interesting when compared to the situation in Africa where hunger and famine are widespread. There is of course no way of saying how many people this mass of food could feed but its interesting that that in the recent Myanmar Emergency Operation by the World Food Programme people received 450 g/day of food or 0.16 ton a year so a million people would have consumed 160 000 ton a year!

 

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A New Fad in Diets?

November 16, 2008

We had the low carbohydrate, the low protein and the low calorie diet and the pineapple and drinking man’s diet and many others. Now we have the low Carbon (Footprint) Diet which considers the well being of the world rather than the individual.

 

Low carbon diet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.jpg

from: Wikipedia
(click image for full story online)

 

Wikipedia defines it as

making choices about eating that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) as a response to estimates that the U.S. food system is responsible for at least 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases

and identifies the focus areas as

    • selecting low carbon foods
    • reducing animal protein intake
    • evaluating transport energy
    • understanding processing, packaging and loss

While a number of issues like reducing loss, selecting non hot house food, eating local and reducing cooking energy inputs seem to be obvious things to do – there is a lot of debate and an the overall impact needs to always be understood.

There is a calculator that allows one to compare different dishes and meals.

 

Eat Low Carbon Diet Calculator - Bon AppeĢtit Management Company.jpg

from: Eat Low Carbon
(click image for full story online)

 


WASTE – Food, Energy, Water & Time

September 16, 2008

I have for a long time worried and talked about waste and the attention it deserves when considering nutrition in Africa.

In the past I focussed on the food which could have been available for the poor and malnourished if it hadn’t been lost and on reusing for other purposed if it couldn’t be used as food.

But now a few reports have made me come to see that this is much wider context. The first by the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) quantified the household waste of food in the UK.

http___www.wrap.org.uk_downloads_The_Food_We_Waste_v2__2_.27e2ea28.pdf.jpg

from: WRAP
(click image for full story online)

 

This report finds that 28% of the mass and 32% of the value of all food bought in the UK is wasted.

While this is important to the UK food chain it also effects the rest of the world as the food chains runs back to the farm, maybe in Africa where 30% too much energy, water and labour have been used satisfying the UK food market!

MORE ON THIS OVER THE NEXT WHILE!


FAO Conference on the Food Crisis

June 23, 2008

On the first reports I have seen it seems like the conference did not make tangible progress, although I guess this kind of conference never is.

Seems like

  • it was agreed that Food Production would have to solve the problem in the long term
  • a short term increase in funds for food aid would be necessary and
  • it was agreed biofuels gave rise to “challenges and opportunities” which need further investigation

Yahoo! what did that conference cost, what was the environmental impact and why was the issue not addressed at the GIAF held a few months before.

As you can see I’m not very impressed but will follow up and report back over the next few months.


Purchasing patterns on unpredictable incomes

April 4, 2008

Some of the uniqueness of supplying consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid is illustrated by this view of what drives product purchase by the very poor from the Perspective 2.0 Blog.

When income is irregular and unpredictable, both in amount and frequency, such as it is for the majority at the bottom of the pyramid, buying behavior is not quite the same as for mainstream consumers. At least four patterns emerge based on a combination of need and money available.

Paid for in advance – Usually a service which can be used or consumed over time can be purchased in advance when funds are available and then made to last as long as possible. The best known example of course is prepaid airtime.

Bought in bulk – Usually food staples or something you cannot live without would be purchased in this manner, either when there is a sudden influx of cash or a payment at the end of manual labour or if managing on a fixed amount each month such as remittances from abroad. This ensures that there is something to eat even if money runs out before the next payment might be due. If its a sudden influx of cash for someone not on a pension or remittance then these are the funds that often go towards a consumer durable purchase or big ticket item of some kind.

Sachets or single portions – A form of on demand purchase. Interestingly, I came across this working paper by Anand Kumar Jaiswal at IIM, saying that sales results in rural India seemed to imply that only shampoos and razor blades were more successful in sachet form, whereas things like milkpowder, jam etc sold more in the larger size. The author cautions against assuming all sachets will sell. I believe it could be based on the usage pattern of the product in question or its nature – what if you packaged a perishable item in single servings that didn’t need refrigeration until opened?

On demand or daily purchase – mostly perishables like bread, eggs, fresh vegetables purchased for the day’s needs. Partly cultural but also influenced by availability of cash in hand. Cigarettes sold loose or two slices of bread and an egg are some examples we’ve seen. Indian vegetable vendors are also willing to sell you a small portion of a larger vegetable either by weight or by price. You can buy 50p worth of cabbage for a single meal. Minimizes wastage whether you’re cooking for one or have no fridge. This is also the most common pattern if you earn small amounts daily, like the vegetable vendor, shelling out what you have for what you need and then if there’s some change, debating what do with it.

I feel there might be three issues counterbalancing each other in this namely cash in the pocket, the potential of future income and the perceived risk of a purchase. What products work, surely depends on the balance of the three factors above and is not a universal either across countries or consumer groups in a country.

The sachet or single portion sale definitely works for food, I have seen bulk broken pasta in plastic bags in Senegal.

What about

lower specification products– addressing the same consumer need? In South Africa the bottlers of coke launched a diluted cordial in a small well decorated plastic sachet and seem to have established at least some market as the product has been available for many years.

sharing of bulk packs – in South Africa’s townships it is well known for neighbours to by large packs together and share directly without splitting and repacking. A product and package design could bedeveloped to make this process easier/ more efficient.


Centre for the Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (CBI)

November 19, 2007

The Centre for the Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (CBI) is established by the EU to facilitate importers from Developing Countries.

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While its focus is wide it does have specific focuses on Food Ingredients, Organic Foods, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Preserved Fruit and Vegetables etc. Within these sections there are detailed market reports, information on regulations and standards, databases of suppliers and services , links, information on CBI projects, news and reports.

The information is free to developing country and only requires a cost free, short registration.