Reducing food waste has a substantial positive environmental impact

Reducing food waste has a substantial positive environmental impact

Food waste – that is, food or raw materials ending up as waste – is an ecological and economic problem. The annual food waste of the Finnish food chain as a whole is estimated to be 400 to 500 million kg. Food causes around one-third of the environmental impact generated by households.

Reducing food waste is an important way to decrease the environmental impact of the food product chain. The environmental impact of food waste is markedly more significant than that of packaging production and waste management, for example. Freezing large amounts at a time and carefully maintaining the cold chain also make the food product chain more efficient and reduce waste.

Reducing waste in production is a part of Apetit’s focus on continuous improvement of efficiency. Careful planning of production and development of sales forecasts play an important role in reducing waste.

Apetit co-operates with WeFood to cut down its food waste

Apetit and the WeFood shop for food waste run by Finn Church Aid are now working together and Apetit supplies fresh products that would otherwise become waste to WeFood.

The Apetit products supplied to WeFood include various vegetable and salad mixes near their best before date or with errors on their packaging or that do not meet all quality criteria. The proceeds of WeFood are used for Finn Church Aid’s development aid.

Apetit also finds new possibilities to reduce food waste with other food industry actors in Urban Food project, which aims to get surplus raw materials from food industry to the dining tables. Apetit also cooperates in Yhteinen Pöytä to reduce food waste.

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A safe working environment

Safety at work plays a significant role at Apetit and is one of the key themes of its personnel strategy. The goal is to reduce occupational accidents to zero and to reduce sickness absences. Key measures include increasing communication about occupational safety, in addition to more systematic safety observation practices and the further development and harmonisation of location-specific occupational health and safety committees. In order to prevent occupational accidents, Apetit regularly updates occupational safety guidelines. In addition, we have improved our know-how in risk evaluation and incident investigation and systematically conducted risk assessments regarding production tasks. We have also given supervisors training on occupational safety management in an extensive training programme that lasted for a year and covered 20 topics. Maintenance staff has been provided with training in machine safety. In 2018, Apetit started to offer a reward for days without any incidents at each location. Key indicators of occupational safety – the accident frequency rate and the number of safety observations, occupational accidents and sickness absences – are monitored on a monthly basis. Apetit has a slightly better level of accidents compared with the average for the food industry. Production work involves repetitive movements that may cause musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, cold-storage facilities and humid production facilities, as well as the use of machines and knives, increase the risk of illnesses and accidents. Apetit seeks to reduce this risk primarily through job-specific instructions and appropriate personal protective equipment and by improving machine safety and ensuring appropriate work clothing for the circumstances.