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National Restaurant Association - NRA, industry partners seek to reduce food waste

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NRA, industry partners seek to reduce food waste

Members of the restaurant, foodservice, food manufacturing and supermarket industries met recently to coordinate on a common issue affecting everyone: food waste.

The Food Waste Reduction Team has been meeting periodically over the past year to develop a cross-industry leadership effort to define the scope of excess food issues confronting all of the industries, as well as the opportunities related to them, such as work within the hunger-relief space.

The meeting, hosted by the National Restaurant Association on Aug. 9, was attended by leaders of the NRA's Conserve Sustainability Education ProgramSM, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute. The three groups first got together in 2011 to discuss how they could divert food waste sent to landfills and increase the amount available for higher-value diversion elsewhere, including to food banks.

"Helping food banks feed the hungry and providing solutions to our members dealing with waste management issues are of paramount importance," said Scott DeFife, the NRA's executive vice president of policy and government affairs. "We are excited about the opportunities that come from coordinating on the excess food materials issue and figuring out how best to divert it to food banks and other operations where it could be put to good use."

Currently, the three associations are working to assess sources of food waste and the identification of public policies that could help expand its diversion from landfills, along with new technologies and industry practices that support the initiative's goals.

The group also is looking to identify research that would determine how much organic waste exists within the industry and how best to maximize its use, while minimizing what, ultimately, would become landfill waste.

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