Nestlé is celebrating the theme of this year’s World Environment Day by participating in the ‘Think.Eat.Save’ campaign to prevent food waste and food loss.
The campaign by the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and recycling organisation WRAP, is designed to encourage people to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices they make and to empower them to make informed decisions.
According to the FAO, about one third of global food production is either wasted or lost every year. At the same time, one in six people worldwide go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger.
Nestlé has been helping to avoid food waste ever since its foundation more than 140 years ago by transforming perishable raw materials such as milk, coffee beans and cocoa into safe, value-added food products.
“Over the last ten years we have almost halved the quantity of waste generated per kilo of product manufactured in our factories," said Pascal Gréverath, Nestlé’s Head of Environmental Sustainability.
“We are committed to further reducing food waste along the entire production chain from farm to consumers and beyond, as well as to raising awareness of the fact that the true value of food is often not reflected in its price.”
1. SHELF STABLE
As the world’s leading food and beverage company we transform more than 14 million tonnes of perishable raw material into finished, shelf-stable products every year. One of our most recognisable examples of this is Nescafé, the soluble coffee we created in 1938 as a solution to Brazil’s coffee bean surplus at the time.
2. AVOIDING LOSSES
We provide cooling facilities to help farmers in developing countries reduce milk losses. By providing these facilities we’ve managed to reduce losses between farm and retail by up to 1.4 million tonnes annually.
3. PLANT SCIENCE
We have an ongoing research and development programme to find new ways to reduce food waste across the value chain. This includes plant science initiatives such as marker assisted breeding (not-GMO) to accelerate the production of better quality coffee and cocoa plants, and other specific crops that are an important source of raw materials for us. By offering farmers a choice of improved plant varieties we can help to reduce the number of plants lost to disease or to climatic change.
4. ZERO WASTE
Last year 39 of our factories achieved zero waste for disposal. We’ve committed that at least every tenth Nestlé factory should achieve this target by 2015. In 20 of our Nescafé factories, we use coffee grounds from the manufacturing process as a source of renewable energy.
5. OPTIMAL PACKAGING
Product packaging is essential to preventing food waste along the value chain, from preventing breakages to avoiding spoilage and contamination. We optimise the weight and volume of our packaging, lead the development and use of material from sustainably-managed renewable resources, support initiatives to recycle or recover energy from used packaging, and use recycled materials wherever there is an environmental benefit and it is appropriate.
6. DEMAND PLANNING
By improving our capacity and demand planning, we are reducing the likelihood of product returns and spoiled goods.
7. APPROPRIATE PORTIONS
We help consumers manage their food shopping by offering them the right portion sizes for their needs. We provide preparation instructions on our packaging, which is crucial to prevent food wastage, and via websites such as Maggi Kochstudio in Germany.
8. RAISING AWARENESS
We run specific campaigns to encourage employees to reduce food waste in canteens. At our headquarters in Switzerland we succeeded in reducing food waste by one third in six months by encouraging employees to take an appropriate portion of food from the self-service buffet and by allowing them to buy leftovers and take them home.
9. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
As well as the Think.Eat.Save campaign, we help to design and participate in a variety of multi-stakeholder partnership programmes to combat food waste including FoodDrinkEurope’s ‘Every Crumb Counts’, the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s ‘Food Waste Opportunities and Challenges’
10. CHARITY DISTRIBUTION
We work with a number of charities and organisations to redistribute food. In the United Kingdom we support FareShare, a charity that redistributes surplus, fit-for-consumption food from the food and catering industries to charities that serve an average of 35,000 homeless, disadvantaged or vulnerable people every day. In 2011 we distributed more than one million meals’ worth of food to FareShare, saving 460 tonnes of food waste from landfill.
Maggi Mousline and sustainable potato farming France