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Dissemination activities at Adriatic Gastro Show

On February 1st 2024 representatives of the City of Zadar, within the frame of the ADVANCE project (Erasmus+ program), visited the Adriatic Gastro Show which took place in Zadar, Croatia. Leaflets about food waste prevention and food waste reduction were distirubuted to exhibitors on the fair: HoReCa SMEs and other business that produce food waste. They were also directed to the internet platform “ADVANCE foodwaste” https://www.advance-foodwaste.eu/ which contains an educational tool on sustainable food waste management in HoReCa SMEs and municipalities.

The goal of this activity was to point out the problem of food waste to the participants of the fair, to raise awareness on this issue and to educate HoReCa SMEs about the activities that each of them can undertake in order to reduce food waste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5th Transnational Meeting in Zadar, Croatia

On January 29 and 30, the City of Zadar hosted the 5th transnational meeting of partners of the EU project “ADVANCE – Advancing Municipal Circular Economy”.

Besides partners who were hosts, the meeting was attended by representatives of other partners: NTUA (National Technical University of Athens), D-Waste LTD and SIGMA Business Network from Greece, Eugene Global LTD from Cyprus, Horeca Partners from Belgium and the City Administration for Protection of the environment of the City of Novi Sad (Serbia), who were unable to travel to Zadar and participated in the meeting online.

The meeting discussed the activities carried out so far, with special emphasis on the results of testing of developed materials and tools (Gap Analysis Tool, Roadmaps, ADVANCE Course).

Additionally, the meeting discussed further possibilities for improving the ADVANCE platform, past and future educational and informational activities and guidelines for the preparation of the final report.

This meeting was the last transnational meeting of the partners during the two-year duration of the project.

 


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City of Zadar participated at the horeca fair in Zadar – Croatia

In a scope of ADVANCE project, City of Zadar, in cooperation with its public waste management company  Čistoća d.o.o. participated in the HoReCa fair which took place from  20 to 22 October 2023. in Zadar, Croatia.

The aim of the participation was to point out to HoReCa sector the problem of food waste and to educate them how to prevent and reduce the amount of food waste.

Representatives of City of Zadar presented ADVANCE project and announced the “ADVANCE foodwaste” online platform, which will soon be posted on the project’s website as a tool that will help target groups to assess their overall competences, capability and skills on circular economy and food waste management processes.

During the fair, City of Zadar distributed leaflets with practical advices on how to prevent food waste in all stages of business processes: from procurement and storage to food preparation and serving. Besides, presentation with a special focus on composting was held during the fair. HoReCa sector was also informed about the platform “E-donation” set up by Croatian Ministry of Agriculture and created for the purpose of connecting food donors and intermediaries in the food donation chain.


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ADVANCE project at Zadar Christmas Market

Christmas is a time when large amounts of food are prepared and consumed, and thus a large amount of food waste is generated.

Therefore, Zadar Christmas Market was an opportunity to point out the issue of food waste and to raise awareness among HORECA SME who play an important role in food waste production.

As part of the ADVANCE (Erasmus+) project, representatives of the City of Zadar distributed flyers to HORECA SME at Zadar Christmas Market, with practical advice on how to reduce the amount of food waste in all phases of business processes: from procurement and storage to food preparation and serving. Also, HORECA SME were directed to the Internet platform “ADVANCE foodwaste” https://www.advance-foodwaste.eu/, which contains a tool for education on sustainable food waste management.


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Activities at Višnjik winter park

Ice skating and ice sliding attracted many visitors to the winter park of the Zadar´s Sports Center Visnjik. Since exciting winter joys are followed by refreshments with warm drinks and gastronomic delights served in the surrounding Christmas market stalls, City of Zadar recognized the opportunity to point out the problem of food waste and to raise awareness among HORECA SMEs.

Therefore, representatives of the City of Zadar distributed leaflets with practical advice on how to reduce the amount of food waste in all stages of business processes: from procurement and storage to preparation and serving of food. Also, restaurateurs were directed to the Internet platform “ADVANCE foodwaste” https://www.advance-foodwaste.eu/  which contains an educational tool on sustainable food waste management.

 

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The role of HoReCa staff training in reducing food waste

According to the most recent Eurostat data (2023), restaurants and food services produced, in 2021, around 9% of food waste at EU-27 level (12 kg per inhabitant and year). Research in the UK has estimated that the annual cost of food waste in the country’s restaurants is £682m, or around £ 5,500 per restaurant on average, while the ReFED estimates that on a percentage basis the cost of food waste in the US exceeds 4% of an average restaurant’s sales.

Effective food waste management primarily hinges on prevention. This necessitates a comprehensive overhaul and more stringent control of the entire food procurement, preparation, and serving process. Specifically, the following measures are imperative:

  • Yield management, maximizing production derived from raw materials.
  • Inventory management, ensuring the proper flow of raw materials in and out of the kitchen to prevent food spoilage.
  • Waste management, i.e. minimizing waste whenever possible and composting or other form of recycling before disposal in landfills.

Implementing these processes enables businesses in the HoReCa sector to minimize food waste and mitigate associated financial costs. Application of “lean management” methods will result in a simplified, adaptable and flexible process. For instance, employing lean management in meal preparation has the potential to optimize various aspects, including ingredient selection, menu size, portion size, and the generation of leftovers by customers.

According to a 2017 survey by WWF and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, business personnel play a critical role in the success of a food waste reduction program. In fact, over 90% of kitchen staff said they want to help prevent food waste, but need guidance, which, for example, could come in the form of daily meetings and discussions between staff members and, above all, through the establishment of training programs.

Addressing this need, ADVANCE has developed a tailored training program for HoReCa sector staff. The program covers general aspects of the food waste problem, such as definitions, the magnitude of the problem, relevant legislation, etc. It also delves into specific aspects of food waste in the sector, such as waste before and during food preparation, waste after food is served to customers, benefits and barriers to reducing food waste, guidelines for monitoring and measuring the problem, and measures and practices to reduce both avoidable and unavoidable food waste. The training material will be accessible in a user-friendly online environment, featuring additional sources of information and self-assessment questions/problems.

You may check the beta version here: https://www.advance-foodwaste.eu/index.php/pr4-advance-course/?showtask=0

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How much food is wasted and why by households and HoReCa businesses?

What percentage of food is wasted by households and businesses in the HoReCa sector, and what are the underlying reasons? A survey, featuring an online questionnaire and personal interviews, was conducted in selected European countries (Greece, Serbia, and Croatia for households, and Greece, Cyprus, and Belgium for HoReCa businesses) as part of the ADVANCE Erasmus+ Project. The aim was to provide insights into this question.

As per the household survey, which collected approximately 150 responses, vegetables emerge as the most susceptible to waste, followed by fruit, starchy foods (e.g., potatoes, bread, rice, etc.), and sweets/desserts. More than half of the food is discarded after cooking, approximately 30% is wasted before cooking, and the remainder during food preparation. There is evident indication that inadequate planning of meal preparation leads households to overlook ready meals stored in the refrigerator. Consequently, a substantial portion of leftover food (over 35%), still suitable for consumption, ends up in waste bins. The management of unavoidable food waste mirrors patterns seen with food scraps. Most households do not segregate food waste from other waste due to the absence of organized waste management in their municipality.

While variations exist between the three surveyed countries, it is evident that food waste at the consumption stage is directly linked to consumer purchasing behavior.

 

Figure 1. Reasons why food is wasted (regarding the three types of food that are wasted the most)

 

Concerning the HORECA survey, approximately 130 questionnaires were gathered to assess the landscape. The generation of food waste in the industry is contingent on the volume of food purchased, meaning that a higher quantity of food purchased correlates with a greater amount of waste. Meat takes the lead in food waste, followed by vegetables and starchy foods. Nearly half of all food waste transpires during consumption, 25% during food preparation, and another 25% during food preservation. Food waste deemed unsuitable for consumption is typically discarded, accounting for about 75% of such waste.

Regarding food waste management practices, around 45% of businesses reported donating a portion to charity, 9% composting, 7% outsourcing, and 16% adopting alternative practices. Alarmingly, over half of the businesses dispose of some or all of their leftover food, with only a third stating that they frequently or very frequently provide customers with doggy bags for taking leftover food home. Approximately one in three businesses claim to have a separate collection system for organic/bio-waste, but significant variations exist among the three countries. Notably, a lack of available space was identified as a major barrier to implementing separate collection systems.

On a positive note, businesses believe that food waste in the industry has decreased compared to a decade ago, attributing this decline to increased experience in food management, heightened attention to cost considerations, and a growing environmental awareness. The primary motivations for industry companies to reduce food waste are primarily environmental and financial, with less emphasis on legislative requirements. Lastly, participants underscored that the most preferable measure to curb food waste is educating workers in the sector.

 

Figure 2. Percentage of food believed to be wasted during consumption, preparation and preservation

 

More detailed information about the research is available on the Project’s website (https://www.advance-foodwaste.eu/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/T1_2_Implementation-of-surveys_all_final.pdf).

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