1.3 billion people across the globe live in extreme poverty. 1 child dies every 5 seconds from hunger and malnutrition. And, believe it or not, 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted every year.
So how do you explain this paradox? There could be three reasons – one, we don’t have much respect for food; two, we are too busy to give a thought to the social problems around us; and three, we have no idea about the magnitude of poverty and malnutrition that is plaguing the world. However, irrespective of the reason, the fact remains that the terrible waste could either be avoided or diverted to a better cause – to feed the hungry.
Feeding India provides the perfect solution
In an effort to solve the triple problems of hunger, malnutrition and food wastage, Sodexo has partnered with Feeding India, a youth-run not-for-profit to ensure that surplus food reaches the right people at the right time. Sodexo united with its leading technology client in Hyderabad to send the first batch of surplus food to an orphanage in the neighboring community. The surplus food generated onsite was collected, checked, transported and donated by Feeding India.
According to Ankit Kawatra, Founder, Feeding India, “Feeding India is proud to start its first Magic Wheels food recovery van in Hyderabad that will be collecting surplus food from Sodexo’s partner office in Hyderabad. This food will be donated to children as an incentive to come to the nearby school. This step is the start of a long-term wide partnership with Sodexo aimed at eradicating hunger and positively impacting the lives. Together, they will ensure that excess food is donated to the needy but that the issue of food wastage is solved at its core, by engaging employees and spreading awareness.”
Sodexo’s initiative to eradicate hunger began a long time ago
It began as a passion at Sodexo by a handful of volunteers in 1996, and slowly snowballed into a full-fledged Stop Hunger Foundation in 1999. Today, 93000 people across 53 countries donate their time, resource and expertise to ensure that everyone gets adequate healthy food and no one dies of hunger. One of the most notable projects of Stop Hunger Foundation is in association with World Food Programme (WFP). Through this project, Sodexo regularly provides nutritious mid-day meals to students of government schools in Dhenkanal district of Odisha; serving quality food that is hygienic, developing a healthier mind and body, fortifying the foundation of the community.
However, the biggest global Stop Hunger event remains the Servathon. All Sodexo employees across the world, get together to fight the problem of hunger in their local communities. Other than cooking and serving meals to the underprivileged, volunteers also help to raise funds, plant community gardens, increase awareness about healthy eating and provide cooking instructions on nutritious recipes.
“The initiative is aligned with Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow 2025 commitment, focusing on sustainability and making lives better for individuals, communities and the environment”, said Rishi Gour, Country President, Sodexo On-Site Services, India.
A major challenge for many developing countries, including India is handling food waste. Being a world leader in food services, we’re uniquely positioned to help. With a supply chain network of over 150,000 enterprises, 427,000 employees and 75 million consumers globally, there are many ways we can make a difference and revolutionize the way our industry deals with food waste. By partnering Feeding India to donate the surplus food generated on site, we’re successfully turning India’s food waste problem into an opportunity – opportunity to serve the needy in the community around us by going beyond our own operations”, he added.
Sodexo has pledged to reduce 50% food waste. In order to achieve this goal, Sodexo has partnered with LeanPath to develop a food waste prevention platform, WasteWatch. Implementation of this data-driven tracking and analytics system has helped reduce production of food waste drastically at many Sodexo on-site locations.
Journeying towards a healthier planet
Sodexo’s association with Feeding India is the beginning of a journey towards fruitful utilization of surplus food bringing food wastage to a halt in India. Hyderabad is just the beginning and the entire country will be included in this programme very soon.