The FAO defines this loss in the 'Footprint of food waste' project as 'the environmental accounting of food loss and waste', or as a decrease of edible food in the food chain during the initial production, postharvest, manufacture and distribution stages. This loss is essentially caused by the inefficient functioning of the supply chains.
According to the same document, waste is defined as discarded food suitable for consumption. According to this Organization, food waste can usually be avoided and is essentially related to poor purchasing and consumption habits, as well as the inadequate management and handling of food.
Other projects focus on locating losses in the first phases of food production and processing, and waste in the distribution and consumption phases, as reflected in the following chart from the EveryCrumbCounts. initiative.
Speaking about food waste involves taking on one of the biggest avoidable problems faced by humans. There are obvious reasons as to why the loss of produced food is undesirable, which can be viewed from three different perspectives:
Environmental perspective: food has a high ecological footprint, due to its direct impact on water and land consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of biodiversity.
Economic perspective: food waste also represents a problem from an economic perspective for consumers, communities, companies and governments, as it represents a lost or wasted resource expense. In addition, the expense derived from the subsequent waste treatment must also be considered.
Social perspective: food waste represents an obstacle in the goal of ending hunger and poverty in the world, as well as symbolising an unacceptable issue at an ethical level.
Within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the circular economy is key to achieving the goal of resource efficiency (ensuring that the economy grows while growing less dependent on the resources used and improving the environment).
Using this benchmark, in 2013 Calidad Pascual integrated strategic lines into its Environmental Plan that have a direct affect on the prevention of food waste, among other aspects. With actions ranging from sustainable procurement to waste management, one of the objectives included in the plan was the company's commitment to preventing food waste through various internal and external actions and initiatives.
Active participation in existing working groups on food waste in institutions such as the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) and the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors (AECOC).
Collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, which is responsible for the 'More food, less waste' strategy, a programme for the reduction of food waste and the appreciation of discarded food.
Creation of an internal working group to deal with this issue, with which it has been able to:
Learn what the company does in this regard throughout its value chain.
Develop a strategy oriented towards preventing and cutting down on the loss of raw materials and/or products.
Cut down on food waste throughout the value chain.
Cut down on food waste throughout the value chain: The Company works to cut down on waste throughout its entire value chain, not only in the production phase. In this way, actions aimed at reducing food waste have been classified in the following stages:
Development of training activities: Calidad Pascual periodically organises training activities for the sales team which include guidelines and recommendations that they must take into account when advising customers, not only regarding product rotation in their establishment, but also adjusting acquired product quantities to their sales forecasts.
Auditing of ingredients and raw materials: In audits of ingredients and raw materials performed with external suppliers, in addition to monitoring compliance with agreed specifications, special emphasis is placed on what Calidad Pascual considers to be good practices and recommendations in relation to the prevention of waste of raw materials or other ingredients.
Donations of surplus food: Calidad Pascual donates surplus food suitable for consumption. In no case are donations of products that have exceeded their preferred consumption date made, based on agreements with food banks in the cities where the company is present. In addition, Calidad Pascual collaborates in the classification of products with volunteers from the company itself.
Social awareness campaign “RAP Movement”: Calidad Pascual
The RAP Movement is an initiative which was created by Calidad Pascual with the goal of raising awareness among consumers of the need to reduce the amount of food that we throw away on a daily basis, as well as to inform people of the key benefits of cutting down on food waste.