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Residents in UAE, Egypt and KSA take action to reduce food waste
 

Danfoss, the global leader in engineering solutions, commissioned a survey to assess the sustainable food consumption of residents in the UAE, Egypt and KSA, and how well they are complying to their governments’ appeal to reduce food waste.

The survey revealed that 83% of respondents understand the impact of food waste on the environment and 77% actively take action to reduce their food waste footprint.

Food waste is one of the most well-known issues in the Middle East and has increased in recent years due to the surge in hotels, restaurants (fast food and dine-in) and cafeteria openings in the region which send large amounts of food waste to landfills. In Saudi Arabia, it was recently revealed by Al Arabiya that the estimated cost of waste per year is $13.3 billion, amounting to one third of the country’s food production. Similarly, in the UAE, 40% of waste generated in the country is derived from food waste. Egypt, as well, has its own issues with the average Egyptian throwing away around 73 kilograms of food each year.

Ziad Al Bawaliz, Regional President for Turkey, Middle East and Africa (TMA), said: “The food consumption habits in the Middle East are some of the most concerning in the world and this has a significant impact on the global environment, whether it’s because of overflowing landfills or the emission of greenhouse gases as a result of the food waste.”

The reduction of food waste helps the environment by diminishing the landfill stream of decomposing food which releases methane gas and, in turn, contributes to global warming. Fortunately, initiatives are already being put in place to ensure this proposed reduction becomes a reality, especially during Ramadan. Saudi Arabia, for example, has launched a national program to tackle the issue of food waste while in the UAE, Dubai is planning to be the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero food waste through the UAE Food Bank, a non-profit charitable organization launched last year. Wasteless Egypt, a mobile phone application that launched last year in cooperation with the Egyptian Food Bank, lets residents donate leftover food and clothes to the less fortunate areas with the click of a button during Ramadan and year-round.

Such initiatives have had a positive impact on residents with 79% of survey respondents claiming they are especially more conscious of the food they waste during Ramadan because of the numerous food-saving activities taking place. However, that is not to say they are unaware the other 11 months of the year – 68% of respondents often take home their leftovers when they eat at a restaurant and 83% would, if given the opportunity, give their leftovers to the less fortunate.

Sustainability and protection of the environment are part of our core values at Danfoss and through this survey, we wanted to spread awareness on the issue of food waste,” commented Al Bawaliz. “These results are extremely positive; proving that the Middle East region is finally starting to sit up and take notice of the damage being caused to the environment through their own actions is everything we could wish for. It is my hope that the Middle East continues on this path and achieves the goal of zero food waste.”

Danfoss also believes that zero food waste can be achieved by using refrigeration systems with state-of-the-art technologies that support sustainable food storage. Restaurants, hotels and supermarkets can invest in refrigerators that house compressors, variable frequency drives and eco-friendly refrigerants designed for cooling applications that keep foods fresh, safe and high quality in longer duration. This contributes to reducing food waste in large amounts. These technologies require reduced energy consumption that in turn generates substantial cost savings for owners and HVAC professionals.

The survey was conducted by YouGov in May 2018, with 3,000 participants from across the UAE, Egypt and KSA.

 

 
 
 
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