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Let's Do Our Part ...

As Winpak recognizes World Food Day, we think about the past and the future of our food systems including agriculture, food processing and packaging, and downstream supply chain activities. In addition, we also recognize the impact of our food purchase and consumption habits to the broader food systems regionally and around the world. Many of us likely experienced empty store shelves due to panic buying of food items during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, in the aftermath of COVID-19, we realize the impact of the pandemic, on food insecurity and access to healthy foods as well as world hunger and malnutrition. These topics require a deeper understanding of factors and encourage collectively finding ways to better address the pressing issues to make sure affordable and regular access to nutritious food is available for all.

Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) calls for a goal of “ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030”. This is an important milestone for humanity and was set a few years ago. Food (or nutrition) is everyone’s essential need and must be considered carefully. As we experience increased climate change and realize some of the impacts such as heavy flooding, severe droughts, and increased global warming, we experience their adverse impacts on food production and the supply chain. As a result, ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition is becoming even more challenging but surely achievable if all of us do our part by taking meaningful steps – small or big.

Food waste, for instance, is one of the major factors impacting affordability and availability of food. FAO reports about 10% of certain food items (cereals, fruits, vegetables, root plants, oil crops, animal products, spices) were wasted in North America in 2019[1]. This is a significant amount that is lost within the supply chain of food systems including at our homes. It is up to all of us to manage what we purchase, how much we stock up, and how we consume food. A careful management of food in our daily lives could result in reducing food waste quite significantly. This carries a significant importance because elimination of food waste directly contributes to achieving food availability and regular access to a healthy diet for all. Reducing food waste also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimizes stress on land, mitigates excessive natural land clear, and decreases additional pressure on water resources.

Due to sharp increases in inflation rates in almost all regions of the globe and supply chain constraints, the cost of a healthy diet increased significantly in the past couple years. As a result, buying power for many people diminished. In addition, relatively high levels of income inequality around the world resulted in healthy diets being out of reach for many people, about 3 billion according to a recent FAO publication. This number is expected to increase in coming years due to the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and regional conflicts around the world. Therefore, our daily actions are becoming even more critical to mitigate food waste and improve regular access to nutritious food for all.

Everyone has a role, including Winpak. At Winpak, we commit to providing essential solutions to protect and increase access to healthy food for many people in the regions we operate. Our packaging solutions enable increased food safety, extended shelf life, portion control and safe transportation of perishable foods such as proteins, dairy products, wet or dry food items, and beverages. Our machinery solutions enable safe packaging and protection of sensitive foods so they reach a greater population in many areas and can last longer by means of increased shelf life.

As a final message, I encourage all of us to learn from the past and each other and apply genuine practices to how we manage food in our daily lives including food purchasing, consumption, or portion control, and eliminating all forms of food waste. It will be a slow progress but every step matters to improve food security regionally and globally and to ensure we “Leave NO ONE behind”.

[1] FOA Food Loss and Waste database

Mustafa Bilgen
Mustafa Bilgen
Vice President, Technology & Innovation
Senoia, Georgia

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