Plymouth Marjon University has collaborated with an EU-funded project aimed at ending food waste. The project, which is called FLAVOUR, sees ten organisations across the UK, France, the Netherlands and Belgium partnering together to put an end to waste in the food industry. FLAVOUR is a European collaboration to find and upscale new ways to value food, reduce waste and increase employment opportunities for people far from the labour market.
The overall goal of the project is to reduce food waste by creating food surplus initiatives, whilst creating job opportunities for people far from the labour market.
Our food system creates huge amounts of surplus food which poses a major ecological challenge, driving climate change and local environmental problems like waste pollution. Meanwhile, our economic and policy environment means that many people face food poverty and wider financial insecurity.
This project has received funding from the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020 co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under subsidy contract No 2S05-049.
Whilst there has been much focus on how consumers can tackle the 30% of food waste which is said to end up in the dustbins, this project instead focuses on the tonnes of food waste produced by industrial practice across Europe.
Ena Novakova, project lead at Plymouth Marjon University, explains:
“Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Economic costs of this food wastage are substantial and amount to about USD 1 trillion each year. However, the hidden costs of food wastage extend much further than that. Food that is produced, but never consumed, still causes environmental impacts to the atmosphere, water, land and biodiversity.
“Food and drink are a highly significant component of the EU’s economy. Europe’s food and drinks industry employs an estimated 4.57 million people and results in a turnover of EUR 1,109 billion (www.fooddrinkeurope.eu).
“Across the ten partners we will be working to develop a robust, cross-cultural coaching and training programme to increase labour skills as well as social and personal skills for people far from the labour market; to set up effective systems to manage, access and redistribute food surplus; to create new products and new job opportunities.
“Our ambitious goal is eventually to ensure the reduction of food waste by creating food surplus initiatives whilst creating new products and job opportunities.”
Plymouth Marjon University will lead on designing the training and coaching programme to promote skills for food surplus handling and processing, and on the evaluation of the project.
Dr Emily Beaumont, Associate Professor and Director of Marjon Business oversees the project from a social enterprise perspective.
“The Interreg funded FLAVOUR project is a wonderful opportunity for Plymouth Marjon University as a Social Enterprise to make a meaningful impact on food waste in the EU. Our expertise in enterprise and employability enable us to collaborate with partners in the food industry to create a dynamic and effective training programme for those far from the labour market”, explained Dr Beaumont.
Professor Michelle Jones, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Plymouth Marjon University, said:
“We are delighted to be taking a leading role in this research project which draws together the expertise of Marjon Business, collaborators across Europe and industry partners. This research aligns with our ambitious plans at Marjon demonstrating how knowledge is generated in partnership with our community, relates to global issues and bring about improvements to people’s lives. The project also demonstrates how Marjon are playing a part in terms of Plymouth councils declaration of a climate emergency and the Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy which aims to transform the economy through clean growth.”
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