An Alliance to Fight Food Waste and Food Insecurity in Colombia

An Alliance to Fight Food Waste and Food Insecurity in Colombia

Juan Carlos Buitrago OrtizDirector, Colombia’s Food Banks Association

Every second, 41 tons of food are wasted around the world. This is a shocking number, especially when placed next to the figure for food insecurity, which indicates that they do not have sufficient or stable access to their daily nutritional needs. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food is not guaranteed for more than 820 million people.

The situation in Colombia is no different. While 9.76 million tons of food is wasted on annual basis, 54.2 percent of the homes faces food insecurity. In addition, food waste has significant impact on the environment, filling up landfills and producing a large amount of methane. Greenhouse gases such as methane and CO2 absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming.

The Essential Role of Food Banks

Food Banks are non-profit organizations that contribute to reducing hunger and malnutrition by receiving surplus food from the agricultural, industrial, or commercial sectors, for its due distribution among vulnerable populations.

Working together to feed the vulnerable

The Asociación de Bancos de Alimentos de Colombia (ABACO), or Food Banks Association of Colombia, created 10 years ago, plays a critical role in solving issues for food insecurity and waste. ABACO receives products that are still in good condition but have a close expiration date from multiple sectors. After performing sanitary and quality assurance evaluations, we repackage and distribute food to vulnerable populations, particularly children, older adults, and pregnant or lactating women.

In Colombia, more than 641,156 people are beneficiaries of the 18 local food banks that make up ABACO.

An Alliance to Help Reduce Hunger and Food Insecurity in Colombia

In October of last year, Herbalife Nutrition partnered with ABACO to aid us in our efforts. This project is part of Herbalife Nutrition’s comprehensive initiative Nutrition for Zero Hunger, aimed to address global hunger, food security and malnutrition through key commitments to ensure greater access, education and empowerment of healthy nutrition worldwide.

Partnerships like this are very valuable for a number of reasons: we reduce food waste, help the environment, and provide nutritious, easy-to-prepare food for families struggling due to socio-economic pressure.

Our partnership aligns with two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. Number two, or Zero Hunger, calls for bold action to end hunger in all its forms by 2030, as well as solutions to achieve food security and improve nutrition worldwide.
  2. Number 12 focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. It calls for policies and practices that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy.

One common goal guides our work: no product expires, and no product goes to waste.

Herbalife Nutrition is a leader in manufacturing high-quality, science-backed nutrition products and our expertise is in managing close-to-expiring products from various companies and distributing them to those in need.

Providing protein bite snacks for kids

Together, we have had a great positive impact so far:

Our actions today can help cope with two major social issues of food insecurity and environmental issue of food waste. It is through alliances like these, working locally but with a global impact, that we can best achieve that purpose.