Find alternative channels, such as food banks or markets, for safe food products that are not suitable for distribution through normal channels.
Food is occasionally damaged during the production process. The food may be in perfect condition but creased or torn packaging makes it unsuitable for sale. When food doesn’t meet commercial standards but is still safe for consumption, consider reaching out to commercial and charity organisations for the collection and sale or use of such food.
Contact details for national food bank organisation can be found at the European Federation of Food Banks’ website. Approximately one-fifth of the food given out by food banks comes from the food manufacturing industry.
- Kellogg helped fund the creation of the Global Food Banking Network, an international organisation dedicated to creating and strengthening food banks and food bank networks. The company works with food banks in seven European countries and partners with the European Federation of Food Banks. Through the UK part of the network, Kellogg’s Warehouse in Manchester donates over one million bowls of cereal and snacks to people in need each year. The food can no longer be sold due to damaged packaging but is still safe to eat. The company applies quality control criteria to ensure donated food poses no risk to health or Kellogg’s reputation.
- In Spain, the initiative led by AECOC “Food is too good to waste” seeks to foster good practices for food waste prevention and reduction along the food chain and also aims to optimize the redistribution of food. This initiative, in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Food Banks, involves different actors working together throughout the agri-food chain to reduce food waste and to redistribute food with all proper safeguards. The main objectives of the initiative are to help improve the processes and professionalize food banks’ activities (e.g. transports and logistics, food safety guarantees), to put in place mechanisms to monitor precisely the received quantities of food and detect improvement opportunities in the redistribution chain, and to increase the percentage of food redistributed. The Spanish Food and Drink Federation, FIAB is participating in this initiative, among many other food and drink companies and organizations.
- Unilever cooperates with the Dutch Food Bank and aims to deliver more goods at an earlier stage in the supply chain, as soon as the company forecasts that the goods will not be sold. Furthermore, the company advises the food bank on its operations.
- Nestlé UK continues to support FareShare, a charity working to address food poverty and food waste. FareShare redistributes surplus, fit-for-consumption food from the food manufacturing and catering industries to charities that feed an average of 35,000 homeless, disadvantaged or vulnerable people a day. Nestlé UK donated over a million meals worth of food to FareShare and consequently diverted 460 tonnes of food from landfill.
Innovate new products from food and ingredients that would normally be thrown away.
If food losses cannot be re-worked and fed back into the production line, other food uses should be considered, such as purées, smoothies, jams, soups, stews and salads.
The safe recovery of fruit and vegetable residues for food and pharmaceutical purposes is on the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the European Technology Platform Food for Life. It suggests that functional biomolecules with high added value can be used to develop new functional foods and natural preservatives in food processing and manufacturing.
Examples of diverted food losses:
- Most potato processors use cut-offs of potatoes to make potato flakes or purées. Possibilities for future innovation from cut-offs and shredded potatoes include hash browns and other formed products. The wet starch by-product from the cutting process also finds other uses as in many cases it goes to potato starch industries or is being used for the production of bioplastics.
- Dutch producer Provalor uses rejected fruits and vegetables from manufacturers and farmers to produce juices. The remaining pulp is sold to a sauce producer.
- Dutch ingredient producer Sonneveld has developed a product that allows would-be wasted bread (produced outside specification) to be reworked into sourdough bread. Sonneveld is trying to convince industrial and small-scale bakeries on board to use this product and thereby reduce food waste in the bread supply chain.
In some cases, by-products can also offer opportunities for food innovation:
- UK beer producer Molson Coors’ uses 90% of excessive yeast to make marmite, allowing the company to cut waste to landfill by 27% and saving more than £60,000 in landfill tax over two years. The final 10% goes to animal feed. Spent grains also go to the agricultural sector for use as feedstock.
- Whey, a by-product of cheese production, is used in soft drinks and nutritional supplements. Belgian food producer Damhert also uses whey to make Tagatose, a sweetener.
- PepsiCo is exploring the use of recovered starch as a food ingredient. Its snack factory in Leicester, UK is able to recover the starch that is washed away from potatoes and use it as an ingredient in Walkers French Fries and Quavers snacks.
- A project that is co-funded by the EU and Indian Government, NAMASTE-EU, will explore how fruit and cereal by-products can be turned into ingredients, food and beverage products and feed. The project runs from 2010 to 2013.
 Fédération Européenne des Banques Alimentaires, 2010
 As defined by Article 5 of the EU Waste Framework Directive, a by-product is a “substance or object, resulting from a production process, the primary aim of which is not the production of that item”. Article 5 specifies the following further conditions for by-products: further use of the substance or object is certain; the substance or object can be used directly without any further processing other than normal industrial practice; the substance or object is produced as an integral part of a production process; and further use is lawful, i.e. the substance or object fulfils all relevant product, environmental and health protection requirements for the specific use and will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.