The Indian Food Sharing Alliance (IFSA) is an FSSAI initiative that has been created to resolve India’s food waste and hunger crisis by working with various partner organizations, Food Recovery Agencies and NGO’s. This Food Sharing Network has come together to reduce food waste and to promote food donation to feed the needy and the hungry with surplus food through structured systems. It has a presence across India.
The main objectives of IFSA
- To provide policy, regulatory, strategy and programme support for food loss and waste reduction.
- To promote food donation (pre-packaged, fresh, cooked food) for needy and ensure safe food collection and distribution through registered agencies.
- To raise awareness about food loss and food waste amongst citizens and bring about behavioural change to prevent food waste at home, school, workplace and related.
- To encourage food donation amongst food businesses and adopt robust practices to reduce food loss and food waste in the supply chain.
The IFSA platform (https://sharefood.fssai.gov.in/index.html ) serves as a network of the Food Collection Agencies and brings together Food businesses, Corporates, Civil Society Organizations, Citizens, Volunteers, Government and Local bodies to work in sync with each other to prevent food loss or waste throughout the supply chain, from production to household consumption.
Global challenge and opportunity
- About one third of food produced around the world is spoiled or wasted before consumption.
- A billion people go hungry on a daily basis.
- India suffers significant food loss and food waste, while 196 million are undernourished.
Target 12.3 of UN Sustainable Development Goals
- To “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”.
- To cut in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along the production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030.
Reasons for food loss and waste in India
- Lack of cold chains, adequate storage facilities leading to food loss.
- Social customs, less consumer awareness and large portion size packaging constitute few of the major causes of food waste.
The aim of FSSAI via IFSA is therefore, primarily to
Care: Help minimize food wastage across the supply chain by means of redistribution to poor and needy.
Aware: Mobilize people to minimize their food wastage through widespread awareness programs across the country by Food Recovery Agencies.
Share: Facilitate safe distribution of surplus food by connecting trained food recovery agencies with food chains.
Prepare: Educate food business on best practices and encourage them to adopt the same in order to prevent food loss along the supply chain.
Declare: Provide strategic policy, regulatory, and programme support to food loss and waste reduction initiatives.
Understanding Food Loss
India’s primary issue is lack of cold chains and adequate storage facilities leading to a large amount of loss along the supply chain. This, coupled with lack of awareness on the issue of food waste, plays an important role in India’s contribution to environmental degradation today. Not only do we need to put surplus food back into the food chain but we also need to secure food for future generations at a low environmental cost.
Defining Food Waste, Loss & Surplus
There is a distinction between food loss, food waste and food surplus; these terms are often confused with one another
Food Waste: Food waste refers to food that is wasted or thrown away intentionally due to various reasons such as excess consumption (people buying or cooking more food that they can consume), or because food that has gone bad or rotten due to hoarding by consumers.
Food Loss: Food loss refers to the food that is lost through the supply chain right from the initial production down to the final consume. This may happen because of problems in harvesting, storing, packing, transport, infrastructure or market / price mechanisms.
Food Surplus: This refers to the overproduction of food and this food usually never reaches the end consumer as it is thrown away at the vendor level itself.
Why is Prevention of Food Waste Important?
- 3 metric gigatons of edible food is wasted every year and at least 795 million people are undernourished worldwide. More than a third of all the food that’s produced on our planet never reaches a table.
- Global food waste accounts for 6.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, directly leading to climate change.
Doing Your Bit
As a restaurant or catering service you can associate with the FSSAI as a donor and provide the surplus food for the hungry and the needy
- Donors can register themselves independently / as an FBO on website.
- FSSAI will provide guidelines for donating food.
- Donors may be one time or long-term donors.
- IFSA will provide infrastructural and logistical support.
(* Assimilating the details of donors helps the FSSIA track the contribution to the needy.)
Information about the Food Donating Agencies that recover food and redistribute it to the needy is available at https://sharefood.fssai.gov.in/agency-list.html. The State-wise compilation of these food donating agencies is available for 20 States, 4 UTs and 99 cities across India.