US$1 trillion in food waste

KUALA LUMPUR: One third of the food produced for human consumption, valued at US$1 trillion (RM4.2 trillion) goes to waste annually, a conference on Sustainable Brands was told today during a panel discussion on the matter.

Panellist Emma Biddles, who leads Environmental Sustainability for Kellogg Asia Pacific, shared the astounding figures during a session.

"If it (food wastage) was a country, it would rank the third highest in greenhouse gas emission after China and US. If we manage to save quarter of the food we waste, it would be of staggering impact and would result in huge savings. If we can eliminate food wastage in our planet it would result in US$30 million savings annually," she said.

Biddles shared that at Kellogg, the company is passionate and committed in preventing food wastage in all stages of food manufacturing.

"We follow the waste management hierarchy, constantly working on ways to prevent food wastage. We bring in different machines, work on improving our manufacturing processes and so on. If we can no longer reuse the food waste, we then use it in our animal feeds. The balance of these goes to composting or anaerobic activity," she added.

Biddles also said the food manufacturing industry is trying to standardise the due dates on food packages.

"Now if you notice on the packaging of the products on the shelves, you will see 'Best Before', 'Use by' or so on. It is all very confusing. I personally do a sniff test on the packaged goods that I consume. We are working on standardising this," she said.

In Asia, Kellogg works with their distributors to sell food that is nearing expiration on a promotion or if the food is still before the expiration date it will be donated into their food project they have on going.