SPAR Italy Partner, DESPAR Northeast, has published figures showing that it donated €5.9 million worth of unsold food in 2017 to local charities. This forms part of its long-standing commitment to reduce food waste and help people in need.
Over 200 charities received the unsold food from which more than 2 million meals were prepared. Commenting on this result, Paul Klotz, General Manager of DESPAR Northeast, said: “The need to prevent food waste is urgent and everyone should be committed to this cause. For this reason, our company has been donating unsold food since 2003 by partnering with local charities such as the Food Bank and Last Minute Market. Since 2015, all of our DESPAR, EUROSPAR and INTERSPAR stores have partnered with at least one charity that redistributes the goods to the many households in need.
“In addition to preventing food from being wasted, we have been actively promoting healthy eating habits through our ‘Good Habits’ school initiative. Over the last eleven years, this has involved 2,000 teachers and 15,000 children. Promoting good eating habits is also very much needed in order to produce a cultural shift with regards to health and nutrition, and to restore the true value of food.”
Together with the Food Bank Foundation and Last Minute Market, DESPAR Northeast also promoted training sessions for the volunteers of more than 200 charities in order to explain the laws that regulate food donation and the health and safety procedures that need to be taken into account when donating, collecting and redistributing food.
In the Italian region of Trentino Alto Adige a (bilingual) handbook was published to illustrate the correct operational procedures for charities, based on European regulation.
In Italy, the amount of food that is wasted is still worrying. From the fields and factories where food is processed and throughout the supply chain, €3.5 billion worth of food ends up being thrown away. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as household food waste amounts to 75% of the total, which has a value of €15.5 billion (data sources: the Italian Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Food Sciences and Technologies of the University of Bologna).
The large amounts of food being wasted is in stark contrast to the almost 18 million people in Italy who are on the brink of poverty or social exclusion. According to the charity, Caritas, one out of ten people in Italy lives in absolute poverty (versus one in fifty, ten years ago). Among these, are an astonishing 1.29 million minors.
Source: DESPAR Nordest
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About DESPAR Italy
SPAR International first granted a SPAR Brand licence to DESPAR Italy in 1959. The first store opened in the latter part of 1960 and with it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in Italy. DESPAR Italy licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.