The dilemma of food waste


The Event – Dilemma of Food Waste

The opportunity to attend the Green Meeting Industry Council’s (GMIC) Dilemma of Food event at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley gave me the opportunity to learn more about the food we waste but also afforded an opportunity for networking with fellow minded folks.

The panel was moderated by journalist Sarah Henry and featured Dana Frasz, the founder of Food Shift, Dana Gunders, a scientist with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ben Simon, the CEO of Imperfect Produce.

The panel was designed to be a forum highlighting the creative ways companies are addressing the problem of food water, and how the attendees can be part of the solution.

The Facts

The research I completed before my “Is food a waste of the water we need” presentation indicated a whopping 40% of the food grown in this country is never eaten. Wasted food means lost money, energy, water, and human effort.

Wasted Food is the number 1 product entering landfills. The value of the food wasted is estimated to be between 162 and 218 Billion dollars annually.  Consumers are the largest source of food waste followed by consumer facing businesses.  Many of these business conduct events for their customers during which their Caterers order 20% more food know they will need to ensure they do not run out.   The food industry refers to the food it tosses out as “By Product”. Ben with Imperfect Produce gave me some consolation when he mentioned the industry is currently now rebranding the food it discards in a positive way.

The Takeaways

My first realization described by the moderator Sarah Henry pointed out that I and everyone in attendance happened to be a part of the food waste problem. Some points I left with included If you are interested in pushing reducing food waste (any green initiative for that matter) do not work with non-green businesses. If they want your business they will do what you say.  The panel were unified in their belief about their excitement about the direction food recovery is moving towards in that the industry was now making concrete steps.

Naturally we all thought about where the food we did not eat after the event would end up. Keeping in mind there are still many people who live in the Valley who are challenged to have enough food for their families in spite of the healthy food which is wasted. Perhaps we did not want to recognize the true answer. I have noted anytime you attend green awareness meetings the challenge is not to leave on a down note.  Thanks for Green Meeting Business Council for hosting a superb meeting.