Text and photo: Hanne Eide Andersen
“Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, thus there is much surplus food to collect, and many people who need it,” says Inger Elise Iversen.
The staff at the food bank in Bergen, which opened this week, are busy working to collect the leftover food from grocery stores, fruit and vegetable stores and other businesses in the food serving industry. The food will be redistributed to at-risk groups and local aid organisations.
The core of the food bank concept is this: You combat food waste at the same time as you provide people who need it with free, nutritional, tasty food. The food is distributed either from the food bank or via one of the many local aid organisations cooperating with the food banks.
“In several cities, the aid organisations are also involved in running the food banks,” says Inger Elise Iversen.
In Bergen, the Church City Mission, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Blue Cross and Robin Hood Huset have come together to form the Bergen food bank.
Opening night with discussion
The Toppemyr venue was crowded on the day of the official opening of the Bergen food bank. Representatives from all the five founding organisations were present, as well as collaborators and volunteers. The mayor of Bergen, Marte Mjøs Pedersen, and city council member Erlend Horn represented Bergen municipality.
A panel was convened to discuss food waste, consisting of Cristiano Aubert from Norway food bank, Mette Nygård Havre from the organisation Grønne verdier, Too Good To Go-founder Acacia Christel de Meo, and CEO of Kavli Norway, Karl Johan Ingvaldsen.
Cristiano Aubert and Mette Nygård Havre both spoke of a positive development and rising dedication to the fight against food waste in Norway.
“If everything goes according to plan, we’ll soon have seven food banks in Norway,” says Cristiano Aubert.
In addition, there are a number of smaller but similar services in several cities.
Cristiano Aubert from Norway food bank and Bergen food bank CEO, Olav Berg.
Kavli Norway working to reduce food waste
A rising number of food industry actors are stepping up in the fight against food waste. Karl Johan Ingvaldsen spoke about Kavli Norway’s innovative work contributing to the fight.
“Our businesses in Kavli Norway are working to make food waste a prominent topic in public discourse, we advise consumers, and we are innovative in our own production to reduce waste of edible food,” says Inger Elise Iversen.
As an example, the dairy producer Q-meieriene is one of the first businesses to have changed the labelling of their milk cartons to read “best before, but not bad after”. Several other actors in the food industry are now saying that they will do the same.
Our values combined
“In the food banks, several of the Kavli Trust’s most important values are combined. The food banks are beneficial for society on a local and global level and provide direct aid to individuals in need. They support volunteer work, and more and more municipalities are choosing to provide funding for the operation to ensure longevity. In short, the food banks provide ripple effects like support from the Kavli Trust is supposed to,” says Inger Elise Iversen.
“The Bergen food bank is very close to our hearts. It is, of course, a great privilege to be able to contribute to this project in the city where both the Kavli Trust and Kavli Norway have their offices,” says Inger Elise Iversen.
THE KAVLI TRUST AND THE FOOD BANKS
▪ The Kavli Trust has been working with food banks in Norway ever since the first one opened in Oslo in 2013.
▪ Since then, the trust has supported the establishment of food banks in Tromsø, Bodø, and Bergen and Trondheim.
▪ In the autumn of 2017, the umbrella organisation Norway food bank was established, supported by the Kavli Trust.
▪ Surplus food is edible food that cannot be sold due to strict best before-labelling rules.
▪ It can also be food that is difficult to sell, for example vegetables that are unappealing to consumers because of appearance or size.
▪ In Norway, 355,000 tonnes of food are thrown away yearly, and a large portion of this is surplus food that could have been eaten instead.
▪ Food waste is a large environmental problem both on a local and global level.
▪ A considerable reduction in food waste will help reduce environmental degradation and provide food for disadvantaged people who need it.