Sector News

Kerry’s fellowship with Upcycled Food Foundation explores future of food waste prevention

January 29, 2023
Food & Drink

Kerry is sponsoring The Kerry Upcycled Food Foundation Fellowship in a new partnership with the Upcycled Food Foundation (UFF), the non-profit subsidiary of the Upcycled Food Association (UFA). The research fellowship is the second initiated by the UFF and will work toward advancing the understanding of the market, consumer perception and technical opportunities of upcycled food.

“Kerry’s sponsorship of this fellowship has enabled more fellows to enter the program, which will provide invaluable insights that can be applied to industry practices and consumer messaging, and thus allow us to reduce food waste through upcycled food,” explains Angie Crone, CEO of the UFA.

Oliver Kelly, CEO of Kerry North America, notes how the fellowship will look toward future food waste solutions.

“Our new partnership with the Upcycled Food Foundation and our sponsorship of The Kerry Upcycled Food Foundation Fellowship is just one way we are investing in the next generation of sustainable food solutions,” he says.

Eight fellows were chosen last year to conduct research related to upcycling. This year’s studies include consumer awareness and perception of upcycled products, novel ingredient development and impact measurement.

The research findings will be shared with UFA members throughout the year.

Kerry tackling food waste
In an interview last year with FoodIngredientsFirst, Thomas Hahlin Ahlinder, president & CEO for Kerry Europe & Russia, expanded on how the company addresses the food waste issue.

“There are many technologies focused on prolonging shelf life and reducing waste. Consider the circular economy model and the burgeoning sector of upcycling otherwise discarded waste – transforming waste into ingredients and solutions with real added value. Opportunities are vast,” he commented.

“As part of this increased focus on sustainability, everyone knows that food waste is something we need to get fixed.”

The company has increased its targets for Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions reduction from 33% to 55% by 2030. This goal strengthens Kerry’s commitments, including a target to halve its food waste by 2030.

“Kerry launched ‘Beyond the Horizon,’ our total sustainability agenda, which we are fine-tuning along the way,” Ahlinder said.

Preventing waste
Addressing the issue of food waste has become a global concern, with several governments, companies and NGOs either implementing or calling for stricter guidelines in mitigating food waste.

Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicted in a new report persistent polycrises of food, energy and fertilizer shortages during the next two years. The report outlines how food system failures are unavoidable and cites mitigating food waste as one of many potential solutions.

UK anti-waste NGO WRAP last year released its annual progress report, which found a reduction in edible food waste and concurrent greenhouse gas emissions from companies involved in WRAP’s waste reduction initiative.

However, it also highlights a need for an acceleration of efforts.

“Businesses are facing rising costs and supply chain challenges, and growing numbers of citizens are hungry globally through a cost-of-living crisis. Against this background, the ethical, environmental and economic case for reducing food waste and ensuring surplus ‘good food’ is constantly redistributed has become ever more critical,” said the report.

The food waste problem is inspiring huge innovation within agri-tech research. Israeli start-up Bountica is developing a food waste prevention mechanism in the form of an edible preservative that inhibits bacterial growth in food.

Some also view food waste as an untapped resource. For example, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers have received a US$2.4 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to create bioplastics from food waste.

By James Davies


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