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  • Author: Julia Münch

Oktoberfest Brunch in Brussels

Fight against food waste

On 14 October 2015, METRO GROUP hosted a “Food Waste Brunch” together with DEHOGA Bavaria. The occasion was twofold: the World Food Day, which is celebrated on 16 October each year, and the Brussels Oktoberfest which was opened on Place Jourdan on 14 October 2015.
Our food consumption and the reduction of food waste were at the focus of the event. Enjoying Bavarian sausages, pretzels and coleslaw, the invitees exchanged their perspectives and measures to combat food waste. Lively discussions followed the introductory presentations.
At the end of the year, the European Commission will present its legislative package on the circular economy. It is possible that the package will include legally binding reduction targets against food waste for the trade industry, but also for the most important customer group of METRO’s wholesale division: the hotel and restaurant sector. The objective of the event was therefore to seek dialogue with European legislators, but also with associations and non-governmental organisations at an early stage on effective measures to reduce food waste.

Lively discussion among the guests

Ulrich Brandl, President of DEHOGA Bavaria, is a hotelier himself and therefore an expert in the field. In his presentation, he stressed that legal requirements such as food safety and hygiene standards often contribute to the fact that a lot of food in the HoReCa sector is discarded rather than donated. Also, there has to be a renewed appreciation for food and prepared meals in Germany, he said. Among other things, DEHOGA has designed a checklist helping its members to avoid food waste.

Subsequently, Martina Fleckenstein, Director Agriculture & Sustainable Commodities at WWF Germany spoke about successful projects against food waste. Referring to the WWF study “The Great Waste”, she emphasised that the biggest challenge in the fight against food waste at the moment was the available data. Appropriate and targeted solutions could only be developed on the basis of precise data on food waste along the supply chain.

Britta Gallus, Director at METRO GROUP, is responsible for the issue of food waste in the corporate responsibility division. At the event, she presented METRO GROUP’s position and long-term initiatives against food waste. She stressed that the trade industry takes the topic very seriously, even if it is only responsible for 5% of food waste. METRO GROUP initiates and carries out measures to reduce food waste from farm to fork.

During the discussion, it became clear that successful strategies to reduce food waste call for the involvement of all stakeholders along the food supply chain, but particularly the consumers. “Appreciation of food is first and foremost an issue that concerns education and the society – rather than lawmakers,” Maria Heider, Director Western Europe and EU Affairs at METRO GROUP’s corporate public policy division, concluded at the end of the discussion.

METRO GROUP’s commitment and positions

Food waste has been an important issue for METRO GROUP for quite some time. We are implementing measures along the entire food value chain, so that less food is wasted.
Our commitment and our positions can be viewed in the leaflet ”How can we pull together to waste less food?”.

Julia Münch

Information about the author

Julia Münch worked as Manager EU Affairs at METRO AG until June 30, 2017.