COLORADO SPRINGS — Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Marketing Institute have launched a three-year initiative to help the industry reduce levels of food waste.
The effort, outlined at the GMA Executive Conference here, includes participation from food retailers, manufacturers and the foodservice industry, said Meghan Stasz, a GMA consultant who is slated to become the association's director of sustainability next month.
The initiative is officially called “Food Waste Opportunities and Challenges,” and its leadership committee is co-chaired by Bob Branham, director of customer sustainability, General Mills, and Michael Hewett, manager of environmental services, Publix Super Markets. The committee also includes representatives from Wegmans Food Markets, Supervalu, Ahold USA, the National Restaurant Association, Feeding America and Waste Management.
The effort, officially launched in June, aims to reduce the amount of food waste entering landfills and find better alternatives to landfills, such as composting, Stasz said. This could be accomplished, for example, by having food retailers, manufacturers and restaurants located in the same geographic area collaborate to provide enough waste to warrant working with a composter, she added.
Another goal is to provide more product supply to food banks, which accounts for the participation of Feeding America on the leadership committee.
Participants will assess the sources and causes of food waste and identify beneficial policy initiatives, solutions and other best practices.