On Tuesday, November 28th, Apollo 111, Palatul Universul (23-25 Actor Ion Brezoianu Str., sector 1, Bucharest) hosted “MOBILITY”, a benchmark conference on the topic of sustainable food production and food waste.
“EAT SMART” was the third event of the 2017 series of Green Report Conferences, organized in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment.
EAT SMART brought together representatives of the central and public authorities, of the civil society, as well as of the business environment, represented by the main operators in various industries, such as FMCG, Retail, HoReCa, Industry, Transport, Manufacturers, etc. Some of the speakers include: Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Mihai Visan; Executive Director of the Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority of Brasov County – Dorin Enache; Corporate Affairs and Communication Manager of Kaufland Romania – Valer Hancas; Vice President of “Tara Mea” Agricultural Cooperative – Viorel Buda; Director-General of the General Directorate for Market Control and Surveillance and European Harmonization of the National Consumer Protection Authority (ANPC) – Paul Silviu Anghel; President of the “Banca pentru Alimente” Association – Gabriel Sescu; Food Waste Specialist within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Elena Dinu; JeTrun Manager – Adrian Moisa;
The participants in this event had the opportunity to ask the central and local public authorities various questions and find answers to stringent problems related to food waste.
Romania, explanations to the European Commission for the law on supporting Romanian products on the shelves
“Romanian authorities are in talks with representatives of the European Commission to explain the purpose of the law according to which 51% of the marketed products in stores should be Romanian”, said on Tuesday Mihai Visan, State Secretary within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR).
Law no. 150 modifying Law no. 321 contains several points which have generated certain warnings from the European Commission. “We are in talks with the [European] Commission to explain the purpose of this law and the positive outcomes we are aiming to achieve through its implementation. There is also a draft proposal submitted to the Parliament for amending the law. One of the amendments concerns the access of small and medium-sized producers to the market. The first thing we need to consider is to support production. When one produces large quantities, one automatically becomes competitive”, the MADR official explained.
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to support, through all means, the aggregation of small producers in agricultural cooperatives, because it is the only way they can access the large retail networks.
From producers to consumers. Who ensures food quality?
How can you make sure that consumers get high-quality food? This question was answered from several viewpoints: anthropological, that of the retailer, of the small producer as part of an agricultural cooperative, and of the state authority.
“Quality might be a term that we all claim to understand. Intuitively, every person associates high-quality food with health, and these benchmarks work first of all in the case of the middle class”, said Monica Stroe, anthropologist. However, other aspects pertaining to quality, which do not have the same visibility, are responsible food purchasing, i.e. social responsibility (towards producers) and environmental responsibility. Both are associated with high-quality food, the anthropologist thinks.
If we have a look at the international outlook, in terms of consumer trends, a new concept comes into play: locavorism. It encourages more regional food consumption of national food for several reasons: “First, the supply chain is very short. Second, the carbon footprint as such is very low. Three, from a group of up to five friends, there is surely someone working in the area, and from there we get backstage information and know more about that particular producer than one who produces on a national scale”, explained Valer Hancaş, Corporate Affairs and Communication Manager within Kaufland Romania.
It is very difficult to ensure constant quality among Romanian producers, because ANSVSA does not have the same policy at national level, said Viorel Buda, Vice President of “Tara Mea” Agricultural Cooperative.
The price principle prevails. Over the past 20 years or so, the price principle has played a prominent role, says Paul Anghel, Director-General of the General Directorate for Market Control and Surveillance and European Harmonization (ANPC). “Multinationals have come to Romania and developed businesses in the heart of Bucharest, Iasi, and Sibiu, and no such thing has ever happened anywhere in the world. They destroyed small shops little by little.”
Preventing food waste using technology
A fully biodegradable bag, made of starch (from genetically unmodified corn), is an example whereby technology can help us reduce food waste and diminish its impact on the environment. Compost bin plastics, a problem that Jetrun seeks to solve with an innovative bag. BioBags are made of a plastic material produced by the Italian company Novamont, made of polybutyrate and starch from genetically unmodified corn. “If you want to have 100% clean waste, you need these bags of plastic-like material that is completely biodegradable”, says Adrian Moisa, General Manager of JeTrun.
How to have good and cheap food
“In Romania, the percentage of waste at household level is 10%. The trend is clear. The higher the purchasing power of a society, the stronger wastage behavior gets. Statistical figures from the National Institute of Statistics indicate that a Romanian, regardless of their sex or gender, consumes about 2,400 calories a day. The optimal recommended calorie intake is 1,200-1,600 calories for women, and 1,600-2,000 calories for men. If we consider some 300-400 extra calories in men, we have an intake of 20% more than what we need, plus the other 10% we are throwing away”, says Sorin IORGA, Researcher at the National Institute of Research and Development for Food Bioresources – IBA Bucharest.
About Green Report conferences:
Green Report conferences enter the landscape of business conferences with a new, creative, and results-oriented approach. For this purpose, the Green Report team changes the „standard” and brings a different approach: instead of having a monotonous presidium and dull PowerPoint presentations, we propose open debates among speakers; instead of counting the hours until the end of the event, we wish to actively involve the audience in the debate.
“EAT SMART” media partners: Agerpres, Libertatea, Green Report, Business Arena, România Pozitivă
To find out more about “EAT SMART”, visit www.greenreport-conferinte.ro.