A foundation for cutting food industry waste

A foundation for cutting food industry waste.jpg Every last drop.jpg

The green agenda is growing daily but are we in danger of overlooking the foundations on which industry can deliver such change?

As environmental awareness continues to grow, increasing pressure to improve efficiency and reduce waste is being brought to bear throughout the supply chain - planning ahead and engaging early with construction companies is critical if industry is to lay the the foundations for cutting food waste.

The launch of Every Crumb Counts - a Joint Food Wastage Declaration and industry toolkit for food manufacturers on reducing waste - by FoodDrinkEurope and other European food supply chain organisations, is one of the latest initiatives to tackle the issue. It's launch was preceded by warnings of food shortages from MPs serving the International Development Committee (IDC).

Sir Malcolm Bruce, IDC chairman, said: "there is no room for complacency...with the UK never more than a few days away from a significant food shortage." The IDC report on Food security also recommended a series of measures that it claimed could protect global food security and benefit UK consumers directly. Amongst these was the recommendation to implement national targets to curb food waste within UK food production, companies failing to meet such targets being subject to penalties.

The Food and Drink Federation's (FDF) award winning campaign, Every Last Drop, is another example of the support that is available to help businesses be more efficient, saving precious natural resources as well as reducing operating costs.

Clearly it is not just consumer behaviour that must change if the UK is to reduce food waste, there is an equally important role for manufacturers and one which is coming under closer scrutiny as the efficiency of all parts of the supply chain is examined.

It is a complex issue and it would be naïve to suggest that the solution is any less complex. But by laying the right foundations and making sure that food production, storage and distribution facilities are planned and built to operate as efficiently as possible, we will at least be taking a step in the right direction and one which will reduce operating costs as well as waste and carbon emissions.

Managing water in operations - Top Tips from the FDF

  • Investigate and share knowledge of new technologies to enable water to be recycled either on-site for non direct food contact operations or for use by third parties to assist in the management of water demand.
  • Implement an effective environmental management system such as ISO 14001, or use the Environment Agency's environmental management system (EMS) toolkit, both of which will also improve your compliance and relations with the regulators.
  • Map your water use on-site and prepare a water mass balance, which will assess the flow of water through your plant along with effluent discharge points.

You can find out more about Every Last Drop on the FDF website.