Surplus Food Network - a Program on Sharing Food with People in Need
#SDG2 - Zero Hunger
#SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities
#SDG12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
#SDG13 - Climate Action
◆Implementation Period: 2016 - Present
◆Project Website(Mandarin): https://surplus-food.ntpc.gov.tw/
◆Background There are 800 million people worldwide starving, while one third of the food produced is wasted. We launch the “Surplus Food Network” to raise awareness about food waste and to redistribute the surplus food to those in need.
In New Taipei, the main problems concerning food waste are as follows: (1) A large amount of leftovers from school lunches is created in elementary and junior high schools. (2) To cater to the habits of consumers, or to streamline food preparation procedures, the food and beverage industry often serves an excess amount of food or discards edible off-grade products. (3) An oversupply at the farm level, wholesalers’ discards of the off-grade products and consumers’ tendency to purchase aesthetically-pleasing products all cause a portion of food products been wasted.
It started from interdepartmental collaborations which involve six departments of the city government and the New Taipei City Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Co., Ltd. As time goes by, it has become a public-private collaboration including the government agency mentioned above, local traditional markets, supermarkets, charity institutions and some private businesses.
What was done can be divided into six parts:
(1) Love-Food Vans: The vans are used to deliver fresh food from markets or fruit and vegetable marketing companies to Love-Food Kitchens and the joint dinning community. Also, surplus food is distributed to more distant social welfare institutions or groups, further reducing wastage and increasing food circulation.
(2) Love-Food Kitchens: Social welfare groups and community development associations have opened up their kitchens for cooking salvaged ingredients, providing meals to local disadvantaged groups at least twice a week. In addition, Love-Food Kitchens collaborate with volunteer chefs from catering departments in local schools and design menus based on the needs of the targeted joint dinning community. By integrating local resources and enhancing the strength of community care, Love-Food Kitchens can serve a greater population. Currently, five Love-Food Kitchens are operational, and six schools are involved in relevant missions.
(3) Love-Food Markets: To provide a trading platform for marketing ugly produce, Love-Food Markets, established by the New Taipei City Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Co., Ltd., aim to increase farmers’ incomes, support eco-friendly farming, promote agricultural transformation, and avoid food waste. New Taipei City is making an attempt to approach agricultural transformation by changing consumers’ attitudes. Moreover, produce brokers are encouraged to donate surplus food to social welfare organizations as a matter of social responsibility and to share food and love with those in need.
(4) Recipes For Ugly Produce: Ugly produce recipes are provided to encourage people to make good use of imperfect fruit and vegetables.
(5) Care and Share Food Pantry: Care & Share Food Pantries were set up in 11 public markets across New Taipei City. On a fixed day each week, Care & Share Food Pantries accept fresh groceries donated by vendors. The donated food is then delivered to local social welfare organizations and village offices as meals for school children attending after-school counseling or for meal-sharing services. In addition to utilizing food ingredients to their full potential and preventing waste, Care & Share Food Pantries also offer helps to those in need.
(6) Waste-No-Food Campaign and Take Leftovers Home: At school, fixed-portion of food is served and a feed-back mechanism is established to reduce leftovers from school lunches. Also, we encourage restaurants to design on-table signs that remind customers to take leftovers home with newly-designed doggie bags.
For students, they started to eat fixed-portion of food, which decreased approximately 6 grams of leftovers every meal. For enterprises, more and more wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets and so on dedicated to different ways of reducing food waste. The total amount of reduced leftovers for year 2018 so far could be stacked up as high as 7.7 Taipei 101 building(509m), counted by the numbers of kitchen waste buckets.
In the past, due to the oversupply at the farm level, wholesalers’ discard of the off-grade products and consumers’ tendency to purchase aesthetically-pleasing products, a lot of food products are wasted. By the collaboration inside the Surplus- Food Network, consumers are more willing to purchase off-grade products. Besides, more off-grade products are sold through various marketing channels such as surplus-food restaurants, farmers markets, and the supermarkets of farmers’ association. What’s better, with the consumers’ rising awareness toward health and decreasing food waste, organic and eco-friendly farming has gradually developed and created a friendlier environment.
◆Expansion to Other Cities
In Taiwan, reduce of food waste has gradually become a consensus. Therefore, various efforts have been done either by the central government or local ones. For example, the Environmental Protection Administration held a series of “Cherish- Food “activities from July to October 2018 to promote the important concepts. In Taipei City, “Save Food, Love Taiwan” has been activated for two years, which made more 10,000 lunch boxes per year with off-grade produce and gave to the families in need. In Chiayi, a farmers market is held once a month to sell organic produce. Hence, it is definitely something that will keep on being expanded all over Taiwan.