Industry Partners

Trade Groups Collaborate for Anti-Food Waste Report

FMI, CBA, NRA team up for a cross-channel look at tackling one of industries' messiest issues
garbage
Photograph: Shutterstock

A collaborative effort by the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), FMI and the National Restaurant Association has resulted in the creation of a cross-channel Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) report highlighting experience-driven advice to keep perfectly good food out of landfills.

The Messy but Worth It: Lessons Learned From Fighting Food Waste guide is based on interviews with food manufacturers, grocers and foodservice operators to get their best tips on how to successfully launch a food waste reduction program and to sustainably nurture it over time.

Some of the report’s key recommendations include:

  • Forge an internal food waste prevention culture. Education and cross-functional teamwork will help shift an organization’s status quo.
  • Research local infrastructure. Seek opportunities for food diversion at the local level and plan based on available resources.
  • Recover and redistribute surplus food to feed the community. A nonprofit partner can improve and expand efforts to donate food and will enhance community impact.
  • Measure current food waste status or it won’t get managed. Measuring edible retail food waste isn’t always straightforward, so understanding an organization’s food waste “foodprint” along the supply chain reveals opportunities for logistics improvement.
  • Consider composting. If composting is an option, the experts believe it’s a great addition to a comprehensive diversion strategy.

“The best way we can end the food waste crisis is by learning from the organizations, companies and people who have successfully done so, which is why this report is so critical for helping our collective industries combat it,” Meghan Stasz, VP of packaging and sustainability for CBA, said in a statement. “While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, this report provides the framework for companies large and small to institute smart, scalable solutions to reducing food waste.”

Noting that the new guide adds color to the complex process, Andy Harig, VP of tax, trade, sustainability and policy development for FMI, said: “Our organizations all share a common goal to showcase practical application of proven food waste mitigation strategies and reduce operational costs.”

“The findings in this report help highlight the restaurant industry’s commitment to food waste reduction, and the deep challenges that come with making systemic improvements,” said Laura Abshire, director of food and sustainability policy for the National Restaurant Association. “We believe the stories in this report capture important lessons learned, and we encourage our members to look to the findings for the small changes they can make to advance their food waste reduction initiatives.”

The new report is a companion to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance's Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Guide, last updated in 2015, which includes strategies from food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators to assist likeminded organizations to keep food out of landfills and reduce food waste at the source.

The full report can be found here.

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