Part of every edition of the FOODRUS newsletter will include a section, introducing you to our consortium of experts that are working to solve the challenges presented by food waste and losses! This edition we meet Núria Cases i Sampere, Project and Communications Officer at ACR+.
ACR+ is an international network of cities and regions sharing the aim of promoting a sustainable resource management and accelerating the transition towards a circular economy on their territories and beyond.
Núria’s primary responsibilities involve providing support on communication activities and preparing articles about relevant EU policy developments. Núria has a background in Environmental Sciences and she holds a Master’s degree on Environmental Systems Analysis and Urban Environmental Management from Wageningen University. After fulfilling missions abroad in Chile at the Ministry of Environment working on organic waste streams, she joined the European Commission’s Waste Unit at DG Environment being in charge of waste prevention files.
What does ACR+ do within the FOODRUS project?
ACR+ is the task leader on legal and economic instruments to prevent food losses and waste and the work package leader for cooperation and replication. In effect this focuses our work on setting-up and managing the FOODRUS Advisory Board, as well as encouraging cities and regions to replicate the project results and findings. Last but not least, ACR+ is also involved in dissemination activities, in particular in relation with the European Week for Waste Reduction (and the FOODRUS day taking place during the EWWR).
Where are the opportunities to reduce food waste and losses?
While in other parts of the world the majority of food loss and waste occur at production level, in Europe most opportunities to reduce food waste are at consumption level. It is therefore needed to engage with consumers so that they adopt more sustainable habits (e.g. with shopping lists and consuming what fulfils the needs and not more), but it is also essential to facilitate the re-use of edible food (donations to feeding hungry people, transformation of edible food e.g. unsold vegetables and fruits in smoothies and soups, etc.). Another opportunity could be to better calibrate food supply chains with consumer demand in order to avoid a surplus of food in supermarkets. This re-calibration will require an adaptation to the logistics and data management of the value chains.
What challenges do you see in fighting food waste and losses?
Too often there is no systemic approach to address food waste through a circular perspective. The legal framework can also be a barrier to food donation and there is no sufficient use of instruments that can give the right signal to citizens (for example pay-as-you-throw schemes). Knowledge sharing and dissemination should be increased and tailored to specific stakeholders of the food value chain, in particular to territories that are big food waste producers.
Have you or your family learnt any new recipes as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown that help to reduce food waste?
I have recently been trying many new recipes that use food leftovers. During the winter I discovered a tasty soup recipe that uses discarded cauliflower leaves, which provide a lovely flavour!