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CIT’s Clean Technology Centre Receives Funding for Food Waste Reduction Programme

CIT’s Clean Technology Centre Receives Funding for Food Waste Reduction Programme

02 October, 2019

CIT’s Clean Technology Centre (CTC) is to receive €99,900 in funding to develop the Savour Food food waste reduction programme.

The funding was announced by The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund, for initiatives aimed at reducing food waste generated by food businesses, retailer and wholesalers, or suppliers in rural areas.

This is the third phase of funding for the Savour Food programme which will facilitate its expansion enabling CTC to work with organisations in Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare and Waterford.

CTC is at the forefront of Food Waste research in Ireland. In July this year, CTC researchers Dr Colum Gibson and Sarah Broderick authored the EPA Research Report 282: Reducing Commercial Food Waste in Ireland which was launched at ‘The EPA Forum on Food Waste 2019’ in July.

The research - which investigated volumes, types and associated costs of food waste found that 250,000 tonnes of food waste are generated annually by commercial food businesses such as restaurants, shops and workplace canteens. The report deemed much of the waste to be avoidable.

Dr Colum Gibson said, “There’s a common belief that food waste is just an inevitable part of doing business but from the research we’ve done we can see that the level is so much higher than it could be”.

However, he says it’s difficult for businesses to make that change. “You can’t go in with the same solutions as you would for energy or water savings. Food waste is linked to the type of business they are, how they operate, their staff and customers, so the whole process involves supporting them in coming up with their own solutions,” he said.

In an effort to empower business when it comes to food waste, CTC is currently developing an online tool for identifying the amount of food waste being generated. Dr Gibson said, “The tool that’s in development will assist a business in assessing their own food waste situation - how much they are generating, have they assigned a cost to it and if they understand it. It will allow a business to carry out a self-assessment in their own time and contact us when they are ready to make a change”.

CTC’s process for making improvements is well developed, but getting to that point is the difficult part. CTC researcher Sarah Broderick believes a shift in attitude is required, not only by food businesses but also by the consumer. “Businesses that are known for large portions, even though half the food may end up in the bin, are reluctant to change in case it damages their reputation with customers. The public needs to play its part in breaking the cycle of food waste.    

“This tool will help people get to the point where they are ready to take the next step, they really can’t be forced into doing it, they need to be proactive. Food waste is an issue that five or ten years ago wasn’t really on peoples radar, but now it is. Doing something about it is not easy, businesses need help, and that’s what we are trying to do through Savour Food”. 

If you would like more information on the Savour Food programme you can get in touch here




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