Established in 2011, membership of the SAVE FOOD Initiative has now passed the 1,000 member mark. The 1,067 supporters currently registered include groups of companies, corporations and professional associations as well as research institutes and NGOs from the entire food value chain. With Lidl Deutschland as the latest member, retail is now also represented as an important link in this supply chain. 

“I am delighted that such a well-known retail company as Lidl Deutschland now also supports SAVE FOOD. Due to their proximity to consumers, food retailers, in particular, can make a substantial contribution to reducing food waste in the interest of sustainable use of resources,” said Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.

According to estimates of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), one third of all produced foodstuffs are lost or wasted. The reasons for food losses and waste differ by region: in the less developed countries up to 40 percent of food perishes every day before it even reaches the consumer. In contrast, Western industrialized nations such as Germany experience food waste predominantly at the end of the food value chain, especially in consumers’ homes.

The SAVE FOOD Initiative as a joint project of the FAO, the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP) and Messe Düsseldorf with the goal to reduce food waste and loss on a global scale by focusing on measures involving all parties concerned. The first step is to raise awareness about the issue and to pool the expertise of both public and private organizations. By creating the conditions needed for members to network with each other, fundamental strategies should emerge to bring about concrete engagement and investment possibilities. 

As a forum for members to exchange information and network, the Initiative organizes events at regular intervals – such as the SAVE FOOD Congress held every three years at interpack since 2011, and the SAVE FOOD Meetings in the non-interpack years. After the first meeting at Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland the second event was held in Madrid in 2016. 

To generate knowledge about food loss “mechanics” the Initiative funds studies in developing and threshold countries, performed by the FAO. The results of the latest field study in India were presented at the SAVE FOOD Congress 2017. As part of this event, Messe Düsseldorf and the FAO also officially agreed on continued cooperation over the coming years by signing a relevant Memorandum of Understanding.