By Conal O’Neill
Keynote session four of the 2023 AIP Conference was opened with a video address from Dr Liz Goodwin, director of food loss and waste for the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Goodwin spoke in depth about global food waste issues, stating that “a third of all food produced globally by weight is lost always between farm and fork”, amounting to approximately a trillion dollars of loss through the food supply chain.
Goodwin noted that the solutions, such as improved packaging, are known, but that a “whole of systems” approach was needed to effectively address the massive scale of global food loss, as well as the eight per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions caused by food loss.
Brianna Casey, CEO of Foodbank Australia spoke to Australian food security issues, noting that the Australian food system produces enough food to “feed the population three times over” and that there is often “no economic imperative” for producers to donate food and that it can be “easier and probably cheaper to dump it than to donate it”.
Because of transport and other costs along the supply chain, food that is unsaleable due to issues such as damaged packaging ends up in landfill rather than feeding people.
Once again, commenting on the inextricable links between food waste and packaging design, Coles Group general manager of sustainability Brooke Donnelly offered some insights from the perspective of the big retailers.
Donnelly said we “cannot feed the [eight billion people] on the planet effectively without plastic packaging” and also spoke to the company’s impact potential due to its “massive supply chain” and influence across “suppliers… government, community [groups] and NGOs”.
According to Donnelly, the Coles Group aimed to be champions of “sustainable plastic packaging” and its focus was on not only redesign of the packaging of its Coles brand product range by “removing non-recyclable components” but also “redesigning the way customers engage with a product”. Donnelly explained that offering incentives such as even “