In the presence of His Excellency Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment held a pre-Ramadan food waste awareness raising event, in cooperation with Winnow Solutions at Majid Al Futtaim’s Leadership Institute in Dubai.
The initiative is aimed to raise awareness on food waste in view of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, during which large quantities of food waste get generated each year. The event featured the work of leading chefs in reducing food waste in their kitchens and other initiatives undertaken in the UAE for food waste prevention and reduction throughout the value chain including manufacturers and food processors.
During his speech, His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi said: “We need to work together to find creative ways to address food waste, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan, when we often see an increase in food waste. Much of this will have to come from changing our behaviours.”
Al Zeyoudi indicated that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is currently working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to develop a comprehensive food diversification policy framework for the UAE, in consultation with relevant UAE stakeholders.
“Through this partnership, we aim to address the whole food value chain to ensure long-term food security of the country, both imported and domestically produced food, as well as consumption and disposal of food, in which prevention and reduction of food waste is a critical element,” he said.
Dr Al Zeyoudi highlighted that the Ministry’s contributions to the Year of Giving include two food related projects: First, is the “Fish Box” Initiative which is aimed to collect and re-distribute donated fish from fishermen and fish stalls including confiscated fish to those in need, in collaboration with local authorities. The second, is the “Sphere Gardens” Initiative to target a total of 28 schools in all seven emirates, and to educate children about growing food. We hope the Sphere Gardens would foster our future generations’ appreciation for sustainable food production and to become wise consumers.
Panellists included representatives from the UAE Food Bank, Accor Hotels, ADNH Compass Group, and the Dubai Chamber. The panellists delivered a set of recommendations and urge the hospitality and foodservice industry to take these on board.
Mr. Marc Zornes, Co-Founder, Winnow said: “Winnow is excited to be the first company in the region providing a tangible solution to the food waste issue within the hospitality and food service industry. Since beginning our work here in the UAE early last year we are now working with over 30 properties and helping our clients save significant amount of food costs.”
There were several recommendations from the event to reduce food waste, including the importance of measuring and monitoring waste; smart-planning in commercial and household kitchens; enhanced efforts and coordination of all key players throughout the food value chain; utilization of all available channels to re-distribute otherwise wasted food; awareness raising from an early age, as behavioral changes take time; appropriate data collection and target setting as part of waste management efforts by relevant authorities.
Dr Al Zeyoudi also honoured Municipality of Dibba Al Fujairah, Municipality of Fujairah, Fujairah Charity Association, Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, Al Yousuf Motor Co., Al-Yamahi Group for General Contracting, Dibba Fishermen Association and Khor Fakkan Fishermen Association for their active participation in ‘Fish Box’ initiative.