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NZ's First Summit To Tackle Food Waste

Did you know that 30% of food produced in New Zealand does not make it from our paddocks to our plates?

Food waste is a huge issue internationally, and a group of New Zealanders are gathering for a one-day summit next month to do something about it.

Te Hui Taumata Moumou Kai o Aotearoa – New Zealand’s inaugural Food Waste Summit, will be held at Villa Maria Winery on Monday 22 March.

It will bring together experts in food waste reduction, including academics, researchers, food rescue organisations, food producer industry bodies, retailers, and hospitality professionals.

WasteMINZ, which is the largest representative body of the waste, resource recovery and contaminated land sectors in New Zealand, is organising the summit in collaboration with NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3.

WasteMINZ chief executive Janine Brinsdon says the summit will build on the organisation’s Love Food Hate Waste programme. It aims to raise awareness of food waste and identify solutions, particularly given its implications for climate change.

“New Zealand should be a leader on the world stage in reducing food waste but is currently lagging behind other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia,” she says.

A highlight of the summit will be the launch of the NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3 Food Waste Reduction Map.

NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3 is a coalition of organisations committed to ensuring Aotearoa halves its food waste by 2030, and the map will identify opportunities to reduce waste at each stage of the food supply chain.

The map is also supported by the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) and the University of Otago.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with WasteMINZ to launch the map at New Zealand’s first Food Waste Summit,” says Miranda Mirosa, co-chair of NZ Food Waste Champions.

Carbon emissions produced by food waste are estimated to make up roughly 8% of global emissions, and 25-30% of household emissions.

With 2021 bringing New Zealand’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions into focus, reducing food waste is an important part of the conversation.

In 2020, a parliamentary briefing to investigate food waste highlighted the Mirosa Report’s concerns that: “New Zealand does not have a national food waste reduction target, nor a food reduction strategy, nor a prioritisation implementation plan identifying where investment in food waste reduction should be targeted. There is currently no national level coordination of a collaborative whole supply chain approach to food waste prevention, nor sufficient resourcing of waste reduction initiatives, nor a cooperative research approach.”

Te Hui Taumata Moumou Kai o Aotearoa marks the beginning of a coordinated approach to reducing food waste in New Zealand.

The preliminary programme can be viewed here, and more information is available here. Online attendance is also available.

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