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Today an alliance of food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators announced the release of a toolkit to help businesses in the food sector reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill. The Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit was produced by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), a cross-sector industry initiative led by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
“The Food Waste Reduction Alliance has been working to tackle food waste challenges within the food sector since 2011, but we know that there are companies out there that are just starting to look at the issue,” said Gail Tavill, vice president, sustainable development for ConAgra Foods and one of the toolkit authors. “Our goal for the toolkit is to elevate the issue of food waste within the sector and enable more companies to take action by sharing key learnings and model practices gleaned from organizations who are at the leading edge of this issue.”
Approximately 80 billion pounds of food waste are discarded in U.S. landfills each year. The majority of food waste is generated at the residential level, but it can also be a byproduct of manufacturing, retail and foodservice operations. The FWRA toolkit focuses on strategies food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators can employ to keep food out of landfills, and to reduce food waste at the source.
“The sad truth is that while food is going to waste, 37 million Americans struggle to put enough food on the table to feed their families. The safe, edible food that is diverted from the waste stream to food banks through model practices showcased in the toolkit make a positive social impact on communities across the country by providing sustenance to those in need,” shared Karen Hanner, director of manufacturing product sourcing at Feeding America, and a key contributor to the toolkit.
The model practices and emerging solutions were compiled from the more than 30 FWRA member companies that are focused on reducing food waste within their operations. Specific topics discussed include:
The toolkit also offers a “Getting Started” section for companies that are just beginning to consider food waste reduction strategies. Conducting a waste characterization assessment, establishing standard operating procedures and developing collaborative relationships with partners from the anti-hunger community, waste management providers and other stakeholders are among the starting points outlined.
Numerous real-life examples and case studies of the approaches discussed are found throughout the Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit.
“One of the most valuable features of the toolkit is that it includes examples and insights from companies that illustrate the strategies outlined. What’s more, the alliance recognizes that there are operational differences between food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice companies, so there are case studies that speak to the unique concerns and challenges of each sector,” noted Jason Wadsworth, sustainability coordinator for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. and toolkit co-author.
“FWRA members are committed to reducing food waste not just within their own organizations, but across the entire food sector. By sharing our collective experience, we hope to enable other companies to tackle food waste more efficiently and more effectively than when we started the process,” said Brandon Tidwell, sustainability manager with Darden Restaurants and toolkit co-author. “The more companies that join the effort, the faster we can change the social acceptability of wasting food.”
For a copy of the FWRA Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit, please visit the FWRA web site at www.foodwastealliance.org.
About the Food Marketing Institute Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org. About the Grocery Manufacturers Association Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe. Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders. In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. For more information, visit www.gmaonline.org. About the National Restaurant Association Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 17-20, 2014, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube. About Feeding America Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
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