04 Mar 2021
Ankara – Hotels, restaurants and food services have a vital role to play in reducing food loss and waste. These include reviewing how they source produce, create menus, and manage leftovers and plate waste.
To ensure improvements in this area, FAO is bringing together public and private actors to undertake common actions. To this end, FAO met with Metro Turkey (a subsidiary of METRO AG, a leading international wholesale company that specializes in serving the needs of hotels, restaurants and caterers) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey yesterday, with the objective of jointly reducing food loss and waste in Turkey’s hotel, restaurant, catering and hospitality sector.
Reducing food waste is one of the major global challenges of our time. In Turkey alone, 18 million tonnes of food is thrown out every year, a figure that rises to around 88 million tonnes for EU countries. When food is discarded in this manner the valuable resources used in its production are also lost, even before the high cost of food disposal is taken into account.
While food service companies adapt to the new normal, the considerable amounts of food are wasted during preparation and storage. The lack of knowledge about how to evaluate leftovers (whether in the kitchen, on buffet tables or customers’ plates) and oversupply and overproduction due to inaccurate estimates have made waste management a key priority in the food and hospitality industry. In order to address food loss and waste and its negative impacts, it will be crucial to determine where and why it is generated, as well as to implement best practices for better management.
By combining their expertise and efforts, FAO, the Ministry and Metro Turkey aim to develop guidance, checklists and tips for the food and hospitality sector, which any hospitality institution can follow to reduce food waste. The guidelines will include recommendations to prevent food wastage, as well as information on how to use unavoidable food surplus, such as donations to people in need, or the re-use of leftovers and/or non-edible food waste for other purposes (e.g. feed, recovery into energy through compost, etc.)
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Viorel Gutu, Subregional Coordinator of Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey, explained that “this tripartite cooperation will help to empower the employees within the food and hospitality sector to reduce and manage food waste more efficiently”.
The three parties will organize a series of training sessions and capacity-building and awareness-raising activities aimed at kitchen/service staff, which will range from the preparation of “Zero Waste Menus” by well-known chefs to the appropriate storage of products, and the reuse and recycling of residual food.
Ayşin Işıkgece, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey, explained that the Save Your Food Campaign is a flagship project, and stated that the Ministry is proud to work together with FAO on its implementation. She further stated that, “As an individual with decades of experience in the retail sector, I believe that his tripartite collaboration will help to reduce food waste, especially in the Turkish hospitality sector.”
The partnership also envisages an information campaign about oddly shaped fruits and vegetables which are often avoided by customers, highlighting the fact that such items are just as nutritious as “normal” produce.
Sinem Türüng, CEO of Metro Turkey, explained further: “One-third of the world’s food is either wasted or lost – an amount that would be enough to meet global food needs. Together with our partners along the value chain from industry, politics, civil society and our customers, we aim to drive solutions in order to generate solutions. We are very honored to join forces with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and FAO to reduce food waste in the food and hospitality sector, with whom we have been working closely for 30 years in Turkey. We want food to be enjoyed up to the last bite because food waste represents a waste of time, effort, money and other valuable resources along the whole supply chain.”
To this end, in May last year, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey released Turkey’s first National Strategy and Action Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste. The Action Plan calls for a multisector and multi-stakeholder approach to the prevention, reduction and management of food loss and waste among all related sectors, from the private sector to non-governmental organizations.
METRO AG is committed to the resolution of the Consumer Goods Forum and a member of the 10x20x30 initiative of the World Resource Institute. The company is also actively searching for solutions to achieve a 50 percent reduction in food waste across its operations by 2030. To contribute to global commitments, Metro Turkey initiated a “Food Movement” in 2017 to raise awareness of this issue and to share best practices on food loss and waste among actors within the food and hospitality sector.