October 16th is World Food Day - a moment to reflect on the critical challenges facing our global agri-food system and the heroes having a real impact. From climate change to health and global poverty, our actions on food define the course of our future. In this context, eliminating avoidable food waste must be a priority, and we salute the thousands of #FoodHeroes working with Winnow around the world to cut wastage in the foodservice sector.
Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the United Nations’ calendar. Hundreds of events and outreach activities bring together governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and the general public. They promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
The planet will need to support 10 billion people by 2050, placing ever greater pressure on natural resources, the environment and the climate. Even at current levels, the impact of food production is often unacceptably high. A new system is needed. A system that does not degrade or destruct natural habitats, contribute to species extinction, or cost trillions of dollars in lost and wasted resources.
Importantly, today’s agri-food systems are exposing several profound inequalities.
- At least 2 billion people don't have regular access to sufficient amounts of safe, nutritious food
- 3 billion cannot afford healthy diets and obesity continues to increase worldwide.
From a climate change perspective, immediate action is needed to create a more sustainable global food system. The world's food systems are currently responsible for more than 33 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. More than ⅓ of the food the world grows is either lost or wasted from farm to fork. It is clear that action is needed now more than ever.
This year, World Food Day salutes #FoodHeroes from across the globe working tirelessly towards a more sustainable, equitable global food system. These include inspiring thought leaders like Sam Kass (former personal chef of president Obama and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy at the White House) and Chef José Andrés who is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, author and owner of ThinkFoodGroup. The campaign also features champions from around the world from smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe to NGOs supporting forest communities in Brazil.
A global movement fighting food waste
At Winnow we are privileged to work with equally heroic chefs, culinary teams, sustainability professionals and business leaders who are all working towards a cleaner, greener foodservice sector. For example, in the U.S. chef Stephen Trouvere at ISS Guckenheimer speaks passionately about why reducing food waste is important to him.
He says "In architecture, the saying goes: The greenest building is the one that is already built. Meaning that we have already invested all the materials and energy in creating something, we should use it to the fullest or upgrade it rather than tear it down and start over. I am passionate about food waste because as a Chef I know firsthand the immense work it takes to bring ingredients to the kitchen and then transform them into a meal. If we cannot improve our ability to conserve that effort, how will we solve the larger issues facing our globally connected world?”
ISS Guckenheimer recently announced ambitious plans to halve food waste by 2024. ISS is partnering with food Winnow to bring its hardware and software into more than 200 kitchens. For chef Stephen it’s a data led approach that will drive change at scale.
“For ethical reasons alone, we need companies like Winnow to help us get a real handle on the multi-faceted problem of wasted food. We need to move the needle in a positive direction on our own behavior, and help others do the same. Knowing the data is a great place to start and measuring our progress keeps us focused on making the outcome better over time. I'm proud to be part of this movement to make every meal count towards the health and happiness of our guests."”
Another #FoodHero fighting food waste is Angel Arroyo, Corporate Chef at Iberostar based in the Dominican Republic. He told us “As a chef, I work every day with one of the most valuable resources that we have: food. It’s such an important part of our guests’ vacations and it’s a shame to let it go to waste. With Winnow, I can become part of the solution to global food waste while continuing to deliver a great gastronomic experience.”
Sustainability and responsible tourism is integral to Iberostar’s philosophy. Wave of Change sets a roadmap to become carbon neutral by 2030, as well as protecting and improving local ecosystems surrounding their hotels. Key to this ambition is addressing the problem of waste.
Meanwhile in Milan, the team at Elior Italy are committed to reducing impact too. Elior aims to reduce food waste by 30 percent and CO2 emissions per meal by 12 percent by 2025 and are the first caterer in Italy to adopt Winnow’s Artificial Intelligence platform Winnow Vision.
We spoke to Caterina Valente (Site manager) and Antonio Pietrolungo (chef) at Elior’s Fourchette site in Milan. Speaking to Winnow, they said. “We care about the community and the environment because by being part of this project we can learn and save money.”
From Chicago to Singapore, Dubai to the Dominican Republic, thousands of chefs are using Winnow every day in 45 countries to reduce waste creating less impact on the environment and ultimately contributing to a food system fit for generations to come.
World Food Day brings into focus the critical importance of a sustainable, robust and equitable food system. We are dependent on healthy ecosystems for a plentiful and long-term supply of safe and nutritious food, but ours are in serious need of repair. We all have a role to play and we salute the #FoodHeroes around the world working towards this ambition.