International specialist to help fight food waste

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has partnered with Woolworths and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) to bring international sustainable food systems specialist Mark Barthel to Australia.

Mark Barthel has 25 years of experience fighting food waste with brands such as Tesco, Amazon, Walmart, Marks & Spencer and Nestle, and international organisations such as WRAP, the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the FAO.

“It is an exciting time to be working with Woolworths, CRC and FIAL to develop a food waste reduction roadmap,” Mr Barthel said.

“Although only three per cent of national food waste is attributed to supermarkets, they still have a critical role to play in engaging with their customers about how they can make the most of the food they buy.”

Mr Barthel said Woolworths was at the forefront in educating customers to minimising food waste via their Food Savers program.

“They have also made commitments themselves, with 100 per cent of their stores now having a food waste diversion program in place,” Mr Barthel said.

“I am excited to be working closely with Woolworths to develop a roadmap that will see them engaging with suppliers, customers and community partners to work together to tackle this issue.”

According to the Australian National Food Waste Baseline report, 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted each year, half of which ends up in landfill.

“Preventing food waste entering landfill in Australia would be the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road in terms of its environmental impact,” Mr Barthel said.

“There is a huge role for businesses to play in reducing food waste along the supply chain, and in addition to working on a roadmap for Woolworths, I’m also going to be working with FIAL to establish a voluntary agreement program with Australian businesses as part of the National Food Waste Strategy.”

FIAL Managing Director Mirjana Prica said the organisation was thrilled to have Mr Barthel working on the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy.

“His experience in setting up the UK’s Cortauld Agreement, and understanding of sustainable food systems, will provide invaluable insights that will help shape Australia’s efforts to reduce food waste,” Ms Prica said.

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FIAL appoint new General Manager of Food Sustainability

Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) has appointed Genevieve Bateman as General Manager of Food Sustainability, a newly created position to support the implementation of Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy.

Managing Director of FIAL Dr Mirjana Prica said that Ms Bateman will bring tremendous experience and proven success at delivering significant government initiatives to the issues of food waste.

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“Ms Bateman will lead the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy and work with industry, business and government across the food supply chain to find collaborative solutions to the food waste problem which costs the Australian economy $20 billion per year,” Dr Prica said.

“Ms Bateman’s career spanning both the public service and private sector will be an asset to FIAL and her enthusiasm and passion will be instrumental in delivering this exciting initiative.”

One of the key roles of General Manager of Food Sustainability is to identify short, medium and long-term outcomes to deliver the strategy and reach FIAL’s 2030 target.

“FIAL is also delighted to announce a call for innovative projects that encourage collaboration between small and large businesses in the food and agribusiness sector, to lift productivity and competitiveness,” Dr Prica said.

“We will match funding of over $100,000 and up to $1 million to help industry and agribusiness solve an innovation challenge. Projects that involve and benefit multiple businesses across the sector will be viewed more favourably for funding.

Now that Ms Bateman has joined us, FIAL’s attention will turn to working hard on the four key areas of the National Food Waste Strategy: policy support, business improvements, market development and behaviour change,” she said.

The National Food Waste Strategy is part of the Australian Government’s election commitment to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030.

Dr Prica said she was delighted to see the recent increase in funding for food waste following the Australian Government’s announcement of $30 million in funding for the Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to tackle food waste insecurity.

“This decision builds on the $1.37 million already contributed by the Australian Government and states and territories towards eliminating food waste. I look forward to working with the new CRC,” Dr Prica said.

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