As we continue to waste obscene amounts of food and question the ethics of animal farming, some companies are taking steps to tackle the issue of sustainable dining head on.
This week, following an initial successful trial, Asda announced it will be selling its wonky vegetable boxes in hundreds of stores, while Memphis Meats revealed a “cultured meat” meatball at a San Francisco conference.
And, in an effort to bring the idea of sustainable dining to a global audience, The Rockefeller Foundation has launched a campaign called ‘Yieldwise’, which has endeavoured to halve the world’s food loss by 2030.
Asda’s Vegetable Boxes
In an attempt to cut waste in its supply chain, Asda are selling boxes of misshapen vegetables which would otherwise have been thrown away. The boxes contain a variety of veg including potatoes, parsnips, cucumbers, peppers and leeks and are sold at a cheaper price than their regular-shaped counterparts. Currently, 20 to 40 per cent of fruit and veg produced by UK farmers ends up wasted.
In addition to these boxes, Asda has “relaxed specifications” on regulations for carrots and sweet potatoes. This will result in a staggering extra 640 tonnes appearing on our shelves.
The UK alone wastes approximately 15 million tonnes of food each year. Despite households being responsible for around 50 per cent of this, supermarkets can still make a huge difference by stocking our shelves with more diverse produce, and thus aiding farmers too.
Asda’s move, campaigned for by chef Jamie Oliver, is certainly a promising start and with any luck will continue to be well received by customers. 550 stores will receive the vegetable boxes from March, as Oliver continues to try and make “ugly produce the norm.”
Are supermarkets doing enough to make their supply chains more sustainable? Definitely not. But it’s a move in the right direction which will hopefully inspire supermarkets worldwide.
At the end of the day, does the size and shape of your vegetables really matter?
Next on the sustainable dining menu is a new method for meat production unveiled in San Francisco last week. Memphis Meats have created a new kind of farming which produces meat without all the drawbacks such as environmental degradation. The company presented, cooked, and served the very first test-tube meatball, complete on a bed of pasta, a process you can watch here.
They claim the process is “healthier, safer, and more sustainable than conventional animal agriculture.” As well as omitting the need to farm livestock, which CEO Uma Valeti believes will be a practice made “unthinkable” by the new process, cultured meat such as this uses 90 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than traditional agricultural methods.
The meat will also be free of antibiotics and other contaminants often found in the meat we currently eat and will cost less energy to produce (23 calories needed per one calorie produced vs. 3 calories needed per one calorie produced).
It certainly seems like a no brainer, even if the idea of lab-grown meat is a little unnerving at first. Valeti believes they can have their products on supermarket shelves within the next five years, so it might not be long until you can try it for yourself!
The Yieldwise Campaign
The Yieldwise Campaign has been launched by the Rockefeller foundation to cut waste in supply chains. It has vowed to cut the world’s food loss by 50 per cent in the next fifteen years.
The initiative will start in Africa, where the loss of fruit and veg is most significant, and will help farmers gain access to the latest and best technologies, including better storage options, and drying to increase shelf life. Cutting post harvest lost by half will yield enough food to feed 1 billion people.
As well as educating suppliers, Yieldwise will also be working with, and challenging, global businesses to encourage them to address and account for the amount of waste within their supply chain. The global economy wastes $990 billion each year on food.
Hopefully this programme, and the work campaigners like Jamie Oliver are doing, can get more people on the sustainable dining bandwagon and help to significantly reduce this figure in the future
We’ve been searching the Internet high and low for the procurement and supply chain headlines. Here are some of the top ones…
UK Procurement Boycotts
- The UK Government are banning public organisation and council boycotts of Israeli goods because the practice undermines “community cohesion” and Britain’s “international security”.
- Councils across the UK have been putting pressure on suppliers to cease business with the country because of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and its embargo of Hamas-controlled Gaza.
- All countries that have signed up to the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement are required to treat suppliers equally, which is why Matthew Hancock has described the boycotts as “divisive.”
- Labour, however, has criticised the new anti-boycotts policy as an “attack on democracy”, while the Campaign Against the Arms Trade said it was an attack on “the rights of all local people and campaign groups across England”.
Procurement to Help Fight Zika
- The global Zika outbreak is now affecting more than 3m people in 33 countries.
- The virus is linked to microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than normal, and, more recently, to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- Governments and businesses are aiming to combat the spread of Zika by investing in nets, fumigators, insect repellents and genetically modified mosquitoes.
- Procuring mosquito nets has been made easier thanks to a consortium including the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria (GFATM), who simplified the tender process for mosquito nets, saving around £86.1 million.
Read more at Supply Management
Asda Joins European Marketing Distribution
- Asda have been in the news again this week after joining the European Marketing Distribution.
- They become the fifteenth member of the group of national food and non-food retailers in 14 countries across the continent.
- EMD pools the collective buying power of 250 supermarket chains to improve their competitiveness.
- According to EMD, Asda will be able to “increase its buying power, generating significant savings from its supply chain which it can reinvest in lowering prices, further increasing product quality”.
Read more at Supply Management
EMEA Region Cargo Theft at 5 Year High
- The reporting of cargo theft and crimes in the EMEA region reached a five-year high last year, according to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA)
- 1,515 freight thefts were reported during 2015 to the Association, a 37.4 per cent increase on the figures for 2014
- The TAPA report suggests that this reflects the growing awareness of cargo crime among law enforcement agencies in the EMEA region
- TAPA EMEA chairman, Thorsten Neumann, said that this may still only represent a low percentage of the overall cargo crime, as many authorities still report this as commercial property or vehicle crime
Read more at Arabian Supply Chain