Addressing food security through innovation

06.09.22 10:58 AM By WasteMINZ

What can the food sector do to address food waste in their part of the food chain? How do we incentivise innovation around imperfect food and by-products? These questions will be considered at Te Hui Taumata Moumou Kai o Aotearoa – New Zealand Food Waste Summit in Wellington on 29 September.


The second New Zealand Food Waste Summit will bring together people from across the nation and parts of the food chain to brainstorm how innovation can reduce food waste while also addressing food security.


The summit includes panellists Wendy Zhou, from Perfectly Imperfect which connects “ugly” foods that would never usually leave the farm with consumers, Diane Stanbra from Rescued Kitchen who gives bread waste a second life through their baking kits, and Michal Garvey from FoodPrint who helps hospitality reduce their food waste and save money while helping their customers also save money. The Food Waste Summit will be thought-provoking and collaborative.


Wendy Zhou says: “45% of fresh produce never leaves the farm and goes straight to compost or landfills because they don’t look “perfect. Consumers have a lot of power by choosing to support organisations who are tackling food waste head on. This consumer action can lead to a change in the way we think of food waste and address food insecurity”


As well as consumer empowerment, topics discussed at the summit include looking to Mātauranga Māori for solutions to food waste; addressing food insecurity with surplus food; and closing the loop – putting back into production what is leftover at the end. 


The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Dame Juliet Gerrard, is leading a project to research food waste in Aotearoa, and will be sharing key learnings and progress at the Summit. Her team will deliver a workshop at the Summit to get more input into the project form those coming up with solutions to the issues.


“Reducing food waste has scope to deliver significant environmental, social, and economic benefits,” Dame Juliet says.


“In the context of the climate crisis, tackling food waste is crucial – if food waste was a country, the UN estimates that it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter.


“Our office is supported in our work by a reference group of around 250 experts and stakeholders, making it clear that there’s wide enthusiasm for the food waste kaupapa and New Zealand is ready to up its game.


“We’ve had great government engagement across Ministries on the food waste project already, and there are a number of related government workstreams underway, so we’re hopeful that our work will provide an evidence base for policy makers to inform action and contribute to meaningful progress towards an Aotearoa with zero food waste.”


Go to the WasteMINZ website for more information and to register for the Food Waste Summit.