For many in the food and beverage industry, 2013 will be remembered as one filled with trade shows. And, while industry exhibitions have existed for at least a century and will likely continue for another one, you may have noticed a recent shift in focus.
It is estimated that 30 percent of all food produced globally is wasted, and nearly one in six people in the United States are unsure where their next meal will come from.
At PROCESS EXPO held last month in Chicago, a special event focused on the SAVE FOOD initiative, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is working to reduce international food losses and food waste. An initial exhibition on SAVE FOOD was held at interpack in 2011, and in 2012, industry sponsors joined in. The Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) was the first food industry association to join the initiative, and today, nearly 100 SAVE FOOD sponsors represent various segments of our industry including food industry suppliers, associations, nonprofit groups and the media.
Another special event at PROCESS EXPO supported food-insecure communities through the DEFEAT HUNGER initiative. During the show, a $75,000 check from the FPSA Foundation was presented to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This was the first time any trade show held at McCormick Place worked to support local Chicago communities in need.
Many industry trade shows as well as suppliers to the industry have put the spotlight on corporate social responsibility in recent years. And, while the reasons to support such initiatives are too numerous to mention, the outcome can only be positive for our industry and, most importantly, to those individuals who need assistance.
The food and beverage manufacturing community is moving in the right direction to help those in need. Kudos to those who participated in these events. Let’s keep up the good work in the coming year. More information about these initiatives can be found at www.save-food.org and www.fpsa.org/defeathunger.