Food Banks call for more tax incentives in the fight against food waste
29 September has been declared International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste by the United Nations. Globally, 14% of food produced is still wasted between harvest and retail. In our country, the Belgian Federation of Food Banks plays a key role in the fight against food waste: in the first six months of 2021, more than 6,000 tons of unsold food were distributed monthly to over 175,000 beneficiaries through its network of affiliated associations.
Jef Mottar, Managing Director of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks, explains: “Every month, we distribute free food to more than 175,000 beneficiaries, via 631 local associations. In 2020, no less than 11,780 tonnes of food waste were saved thanks to donations from the food industry, supermarkets and auctions. This corresponds to more than half (53.5%) of all the food distributed by our Food Banks last year”.
The Food Banks’ warehouses are still struggling daily with the consequences of the Coronavirus crisis. Although the organisation has exceptionally purchased 1,100 tons of food in 2021 thanks to exceptional government subsidies, the demand on the ground continues to exceed supply. In order to stimulate qualitative donations in the short term, Fevia, the sectoral federation of Belgian food companies, and the Belgian Federation of Food Banks have signed a brand new charter.
Bart Buysse, CE0 Fevia, is involved in the project: “Today, thanks to the efforts made by the food sector, more than 1.5% of food is wasted during the production process. However, as a food industry, we want to continue to fight against waste. For example, our companies donate 6,000 tonnes of food and drink to food banks each year, thus combining the fight against food loss with the fight against hunger. This charter allows us to continue to raise awareness together with food companies and to promote and facilitate donations.”
In order to further encourage the donation of food for charity to Belgian food companies, supermarkets and auctions, the Food Banks are also knocking on the door of policy makers with some proposals.
“Currently, companies that donate food can reclaim the VAT (6%). In addition to this tax advantage for donors, food donations for charities could be further encouraged by setting up a system similar to the one in force in France. In this case, a tax reduction is provided on the basis of the net financial value of the food donated, possibly taking into account storage and transport costs. In short, a clear incentive to make more use of food surpluses! […] On the occasion of the International Day of Awareness of Food Losses and Wastage, the Belgian Federation of Food Banks invites the government to take the necessary initiatives in this respect.” explains Jef Mottar.
Read here the original article (in French).