Third Save Food Congress at interpack

Talk and action on food losses and food wastage

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Tei Mukunya speaks about her SME food processing project at the Save Food Congress. Mukunya is the CEO of Azuri Health Ltd an SME in Kenya that has developed a mango based dry fruit processing and packaging industry with help from Africon and others. Photo PSA

The Congress is humbling for technology companies that are generally committed to more, faster and automated production compelled to talk on this platform about simpler and more appropriate technologies for emerging economies to prevent food losses on the farming, harvesting, sorting, processing and logistics side. Nevertheless, it is a sobering thought that already more people in the world die of obesity related deaths than to those related to malnutrition. In the European Union, 88 millions tons of food worth about EUR 143 billion is wasted annually.

The German government has established a division to tackle food waste with a “too good for the bin” awareness program. Its spokesman outlined the government’s 3-step strategy, including targeting its communication at the 800,000 young people who come of age each year in the country; investment in science research to prevent food waste to match or compete with research and development for the increase of food production; and to attract and enable startup companies to find solutions that are both creative and have their own business velocity. A view that can be said to be shared by several speakers is that, “While the private sector holds the key to addressing the issues of preventing food losses and food waste, the public sector is an enabler through policy, frameworks, economic initiatives and research.”

India invites investment in food processing and packaging
A featured speaker at the Save Food Congress was Gargi Kaul, joint secretary and financial advisor to the Ministry of Food Processing in the Government of India. Kaul said that the Indian government is committed to reducing food losses currently estimated to be of the order of US$ 138 billion, by 10% annually. She openly invited foreign direct investment in food processing and packaging pointing to the 42 mega food industrial parts that the government has approved and of which 8 are already operational—together with the government’s recognition of better storage and cold chain logistics facilities. “We require food processing and packaging technology,” she said. “In addition, there is an opportunity in the food retail sector of US$ 33 billion in the next ten years.”

Third Save Food Congress at interpack 1
Gargi Kaul Joint Secretary & Financial Advisor in Ministry for Food Processing Industry, Government of India speaks at the Save Food Congress at interpack in Dusseldorf. Kaul invited foreign direct investments in food processing and packaging with comprehensive government assistance and project subsidies. Photo PSA

Kaul invited interested stakeholders to the Food India 2017 conference being organized by the Indian government from 3 to 5 November 2017 in New Delhi. Subsequent to Kaul’s forthright and well-received presentation, the FAO presented its case study research of food losses in Andhra Pradesh.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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