Responding to an invitation by Messe Düsseldorf and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, international stakeholders from politics, business and the general public came together May 16 and 17 at the "Save Food congress" to find solutions to fight global food loss.
Food loss is "one of the most urgent problems confronting the global community," stated Modibo Traoré, Assistant Director General, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, of the FAO, who went on to stress that access to food is a basic human right.
While Traoré focused mainly on combating hunger, German Federal Food Minister Ilse Aigner raised another aspect regarding our attitude to food. "Food is produced by people to feed people. We therefore have a duty to treat it respectfully - for ecological, economic and moral reasons," said the minister, sending out a wake-up call for people to start rethinking now.
Referring to the Millennium Goals of the United Nations, Prof. Klaus Töpfer asserted that "We need similar goals for high-income countries to change the prevalent throw-away and energy-wasting mentality." In addition to policy-makers and consumers, he considered that the packaging industry in particular had a major obligation to collaborate with other sectors in developing solutions along the food value chain.
Prior to the congress, the FAO had published new studies according to which about one third of global food production (1.3 billion tonnes per year) was lost on the way "from farm to fork" or was discarded unused by consumers. The studies by the UN organisation also confirmed that better packaging can help to protect food, especially in low-income countries.