DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — The second international SAVE FOOD Congress ended successfully at interpack 2014 packaging trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. The two-day congress demonstrated methods to fight food losses and food waste along the entire value chain, more so than the inaugural edition three years ago. High-profile guests and participants, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) officials, the Senegalese minister and musician Youssou N’Dour and former German minister Renate Künast, contributed their knowledge, while an array of lectures and workshops served to identify practical problem-solving approaches and options.

The Congress was organized by the SAVE FOOD Initiative, a collaboration of Messe Düsseldorf, the F.A.O. and UNEP. It took place shortly before the start of interpack, the leading global trade fair for packaging technology and related process technology, held May 8-14. Packaging technology, in particular, can make a major contribution to the elimination of the food loss and food waste problem through the development of smart solutions.

Each SAVE FOOD Congress day dealt with a specific topic. The first day, May 7, focused on big-picture political and civil-society approaches, while the second day, May 8, predominantly covered private-sector topics. A common theme linked both days of the Congress: building and strengthening alliances and bringing together all players from the entire food value chain in an effort to use a wide range of capabilities and resources to unlock new possibilities.

“The Save Food conference has clearly shown that we need to address the problem of food waste and losses at all levels of the food chain,” commented F.A.O. Assistant Director-General Ren Wang. “We simply should not continue to waste and lose food that nobody eats. This is a non-productive use of scarce resources like energy, land and water and contributes to climate change. Governments, the private sector and civil society need to cooperate closely to develop better policies, affordable and sustainable technological innovations and promote behavior change to ensure that food is being consumed in a more efficient way.”

The presentation of the recent baseline study conducted by the SAVE FOOD Initiative was a central topic at the congress. The study consists of case studies looking at smallholder agricultural operations and fisheries in Kenya to illustrate the causes of and possible solutions to food losses. This study particularly deals with the issue of improving yields for milk, fish and corn in Kenya. Resulting approaches could be applied to other African markets as well, including the development of capacities along the supply chain and the targeted use of technology as well as an increase in training opportunities for growers, the establishment of local warehouses and distribution centers and raised awareness regarding efficiency and sustainability improvements in general.

“I am very pleased with the second international SAVE FOOD Congress and with its outcome,” said Werner M. Dornscheidt, president and chief executive officer of Messe Düsseldorf. “Once more, it impressively demonstrated that a broad alliance reaching across sectors and across nations can make a difference and have a real impact. Our goal is and will remain a reduction of food losses and food waste and along with that the eradication of hunger in the world, and this Congress has brought us a big step closer to our goal.”

At the conclusion of the second international SAVE FOOD Congress, the presenters signed a declaration about their continued collaboration for the development of innovative solutions. With this declaration, they expressed their commitment to use consistent strategies and constructive measures across the corporate, institutional and national levels.