Some weeks ago, 42 businesses in the food, convenience and restaurant industries joined the collective industry agreement with the goal of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. This week, yet another important step towards this goal was taken, through the establishment of the Norway Food Bank charity. Norway Food Bank will, among other things, be working to secure optimal usage of resources throughout the entire supply chain and contribute to the reduction of food waste throughout the country.
The food bank in Oslo opened in the autumn of 2013 and has been a success from day one. Over the last year, two new food banks have seen the light of day – one in Tromsø and one in Bodø – and another four or five food banks are scheduled to open soon. It is therefore now natural to establish Norway Food Bank, an umbrella organisation that will coordinate, aid and develop all the food banks in Norway, and also serve as a source for new knowledge and a catalyst for new, local initiatives. The charity will be working on developing joint systems that will make the distribution of surplus food from stores to aid organisations, also via food banks, easier. The umbrella organisation will also negotiate agreements with national businesses and contribute to more people knowing about the food banks and increasing their visibility.
The board of Norway Food Bank will include representatives from both the local food banks and the food industry. Project manager Paula Capodistrias (37) is an agroecologist with 20 years’ experience from hospitality and retail. The last five years, she has been working with systems for redistribution of surplus food.
“My main focus will be to have everyone pulling in the same direction – this includes the food banks, the food industry and the public sector. The industry goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, and to do this we need everyone to play on the same team. This is a joint effort, and everyone has to contribute,” Paula emphasises.
The collective industry agreement on the reduction of food waste, signed last June by five ministries and a joint food industry, commits the signatories among other to create safe and satisfactory solutions to ensure that unsold food is redistributed to disadvantaged people. This is crucial to reaching the goal of 50% reduction in food waste, and Norway Food Bank will be an important resource, facilitator and sparring partner.
Norway Food Bank has received support from the Kavli Trust for establishment and to ensure operation for about two years. The Kavli Trust has, since 2013, shown great dedication to the food bank concept, and emphasises, through this, their continued commitment to help redistribute surplus food and combatting food waste.
Project manager Norway Food Bank
M: 93 46 97 40
CEO Oslo Food Bank
M: 93 40 13 04
Facts about food banks and food waste
The first Norwegian food bank was established in Oslo in 2013.
In 2016, the food bank in Oslo redistributed 1050 tonnes food, equalling 2.1 million meals. This is fully edible surplus food that would otherwise have been thrown out. In 2017, they are looking to redistribute 2.4 million meals with an environmental impact equalling 3.6 million kilos of CO2.
Today, there are also food banks operating in Tromsø and Bodø.
In several cities, food banks are under development. These, and other new initiatives, can get advice and help to get started from the Norway food bank umbrella organisation
In Norway, the food industry, grocery stores and individuals throw away more than 350 000 tonnes food that should have been eaten.
In total, the food waste equalled 355 128 tonnes in 2015:
• 4 404 tonnes food waste in the food industry
• 3 067 tonnes food waste on the wholesale level
• 60 177 tonnes food waste on the grocery store level
• 217 480 tonnes food waste from individuals
• This food waste has a collected value of about NOK 20 billion
Source: Oslo food bank: www.matsentralen.no