In June 2016, FoodDrinkEurope, together with the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) and with the support of EuroCommerce, released “Every Meal Matters: Food Donation Guidelines”. These guidelines, endorsed by the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed and supported by Commissioner Andriukaitis (DG SANTE) outline a simple framework of practical steps that can be undertaken to help food and drink manufacturers anticipate and prepare for any potential surplus that may arise in the business.
While the primary focus is on driving out inefficiencies in supply chains and to aim for zero food waste, where surpluses cannot be avoided, redirecting to feed people should be a first consideration. Food donations are beneficial to food and drink manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers because they contribute to food waste prevention, fostering community engagement, demonstrating a commitment to making environmental improvements whilst also tackling food poverty.
Surplus food can consist of finished food products, partly finished products or surplus ingredients an can include ambient, chilled and frozen products. Surpluses can arise for a number of reasons, such as over-ordered-products; qualities reject or obsolete seasonal stock. To be suitable for donation, all surplus food must be fit for human consumption and compliant with all relevant food hygiene and safety legislation.
Once identified, the surplus needs to be stored at an appropriate temperature and prepared for collection and delivery. Surplus food for human consumption can be donated to charitable organisations, such as FEBA members, which in turn donate food for free or at low cost, or to social enterprises that sell food at very low prices to people in need.
FEBA members can possibly accept these types of food, ensuring that temperatures are kept under control, including some past their “best before date”:
Chilled perishable packaged food (juice, cheese)
Fresh and frozen meat and fish
Frozen food products
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
Ambient food including those packaged in jars or tins