Spanish companies are putting the brakes on food waste
Controlling the economic losses caused by food waste has become a strategic focus for Spanish companies. Consumers have also become an active part of this reality.
Stopping food waste has gone from being a tendency to become a strategic axis for the processing industry and the supermarket chains in Spain. As shown by a study carried out by the sectoral organization Aecoc and the Ministry of Agriculture, 71% of companies in the food and beverage sector are aware of the problem and already have at least an internal plan based on prevention to avoid their products from ending up in the dustbin.
"The data shows how companies are increasingly aware of the importance of reviewing all their operations in order to avoid inefficiencies that end up generating food waste and, therefore, economic losses," Nuria de Pedraza, Head of the Aecoc project against waste, stressed.
For every kilo or liter of a given product manufactured in the factories, only 0.002 kilos or liters are now generated which can be used and, therefore, barely 0.0004 kilos or liters are wasted.
The progress in this matter is because corporate awareness has already reached high levels, with 61% of companies promoting good practices to achieve this goal and 51.39% coordinating actions with their suppliers in order to prevent food loss.
Donations to food banks
During the presentation of the study, Mrs. de Pedraza also mentioned data on donations carried out by the food distribution sector during the pandemic. The survey shows that 73.2% of supermarket chains increased the volume of donations since the beginning of the lockdown. A nationwide lockdown took place from 16 March to 21 June, 2020.
In the near future, 53.6% of companies will maintain the current level of this practice to help the most vulnerable, while limiting waste. On the other hand, 42.9% are planning to return to previous levels once the health crisis is overcome.
Mrs. de Pedraza noted that while in 2012, companies only acknowledged donating surpluses, or having agreements with food banks, they are now also taking measures against food waste in production processes.
Consumers more aware
Spanish consumers have also become part of this reality. The study concludes that in the fourteen weeks that the lockdown lasted, food waste decreased by 14%. This greater public awareness was because more value was placed on food and the contribution of a production chain that made an effort to provide an "efficient response" was recognized, as explained by José M. Herrero, Director for the Food Industry, from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Household food waste in 2019
Mr Herrero also presented data for 2019 from the ministry's panel on food waste in Spanish households. There was a slight increase of 1% in food waste, much lower than the 8.9% increase in 2018 over the previous year. For the director, 2019 means a year of stability in waste, with moderate growth that invites optimism.
The ministry, aware of the importance of combating food waste and its impact on the environment, launched the "Más alimento, menos desperdicio" strategy https://bit.ly/33cPjlt in 2013. Developed through eight action areas, one of the first actions of the strategy is to quantify waste.