Our food waste initiative “From Field to Fork” was launched in 2018 to tackle food waste along the value chain. In Europe, 75% of all food waste stems from production and consumption and only 25% comes from handling, storage, processing and distribution. Therefore, to make a more significant impact, we looked beyond avoiding food waste within its own activities and extended its initiative towards suppliers, employees and customers.

“Reducing Food Waste from Field to Fork” consists of various actions along four main pillars.

1.Share sustainable best practices with suppliers

2.Reduce food waste with 10% per tonne of produce within the business

3.Engage 70% employees in reducing their food waste at home

4.Communicate ways to use Belazu products to reduce household food waste

        1. Supplier focus

In 2017, a life cycle assessment showed that Belazu could make the largest positive environmental impact by driving changes with its 151 suppliers from around the Mediterranean. In 2018 the company set up a questionnaire focussing on positive actions suppliers have taken to improve their environmental and ethical impact. 60 general email questionnaires and 10 in depth supplier interviews were conducted with the aim to highlight and share best practices, such as:

1.A balsamic vinegar supplier sells his pomace, what was left after pressing the grapes, on to a Grappa maker, turning it into a local delicacy

2.A tomato supplier sells the tomatoes that were damaged during production to a local tomato paste producer

3.One of our olive suppliers sells his pomace waste on to a pomace company, who after extracting the leftover oil converted the food waste into pellets which were then returned and used to heat the factory

        2. Business focus

In 2018 our food waste per tonne of produce has decreased by 10% per tonnes of produce with the added benefit of saving over £5,500 per year in waste transport. Through an internal audit, two ways were identified to reduce food waste further; increase the use of donations for food not meeting our aesthetic requirements, and to improve supply chain management during processing and packing. This resulted in a membership of PlanZheroes and different initiatives across our production site.

1.Serving smaller portions and preparing a menu each week in advance, the canteen reduced food waste by 66% in 2018

2.Informing and training staff about PlanZheroes’ initiative to help donate food that do not pass taste tests, or where the packaging is damaged resulted in an increase of food being donated by more than 530%. Donating an equivalent of 18,575 meals in 2018 alone.

3.Using high-pressure pasteurisation, a leading-edge technology to increase shelf life without compromising quality, allowed us to work with bigger batches for pasteurisation, increasing the loss of product significantly from 10% for a batch of 100kg to 1% for a batch of 1000kg. Secondly, it helps customers minimise food wastage by extending the shelf life of the products.

My Yard collecting unused Belazu olives to use within their kitchens.

Small action = big impact campaign at Belazu

Red peppers drying in the sun

4. Employee focus

We engaged 76% of employees in reducing their food waste in the business as well as at home. Employees have always been central to Belazu’s corporate social responsibility campaigns. The company added food waste reduction and waste training to the employee-oriented engagement day.  The communication and activities were concentrated on making our employees aware of the problem and consequences of food waste. Examples were given on how food waste can be avoided in the business and at home.

4. Customer focus

Through customer feedback, we realised that many of our customers buy Belazu’s pastes and dips as part of specific cooking recipes, and do not always know how to apply the products in order to use them up. In order to avoid the remainder of the products going to waste we added top applicators with easy product usage tips.

In addition, Belazu and the Belazu Foundation support community projects with local schools. Fresh Enterprise is a project that shows Ealing high school students the journey of their food from plant to plate. By educating young people, we aim to increase cooking skills, food knowledge and food waste awareness. In 2018 four local high schools were involved reaching over 100 students and their families.

Next steps

As a food business, Belazu has the responsibility to ensure that the enjoyment of food does not come at an unnecessary expense to the environment. Recent progress reports on SDG target 12.3 show that the world is making significant progress towards meeting the 2030 targets. We will support the SDG 12.3 and reduce our food waste by 50% by 2030. Of that food waste, we aim to have 100% of edible food waste diverted for human consumption by 2025.

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