UAE Food Bank signs cooperation agreement with Majid Al Futtaim and Replate to donate food surplus from food establishments

The UAE Food Bank has entered into a collaborative agreement with Majid Al Futtaim and Replate, marking a pioneering initiative that allows all food enterprises within Majid Al Futtaim's trading centers to contribute surplus food suitable for human consumption. The primary goal of this partnership is to redirect surplus food towards workers and other beneficiaries, significantly reducing wastage.

Aligned with the UAE Food Bank's commitment to providing sustenance to those in need through sustainable initiatives, this collaboration further supports the UAE's ambition to become a global leader in the Food Security Index by 2051, as outlined in the National Food Security Strategy 2051.

This unique partnership signifies a groundbreaking initiative, the first of its kind in the UAE. The UAE Food Bank will distribute surplus food from participating food establishments situated at the Mall of the Emirates, serving as the inaugural experimental mall. This initiative adheres to a comprehensive set of aesthetic standards and guidelines, contributing to responsible preservation practices among food enterprises, commercial establishments, and marketing centers.

The Food Bank teams conducted training sessions for food establishments, guiding them through every stage of the food donation process. This included instructions on collecting surplus and good food, ensuring proper packaging, facilitating appropriate transportation, and using donation refrigerators. Health supervisors accredited by the Food Safety Department of each food institution within the Mall of the Emirates supervised these activities.

H.E. Dawoud Al Hajri, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees, emphasized the crucial role of partnerships in advancing the Bank's vision, mission, and values. Al Hajri highlighted the significance of efficient planning and management of food surplus to establish the Bank as a sustainable food bank and a global leader, keeping pace with future trends in line with the UAE's objective of supporting values of sustainable development. Al Hajri underscored the Food Bank's core objectives of raising the value of feeding food, minimizing waste, and delivering high-quality food to beneficiaries.

Al-Hajri stated, "The partnership achieves several of the UAE's national goals, beginning with the preservation of blessings and fostering community responsibility towards specific target groups. Its primary aim is to reduce the volume of good food residues and enhance societal awareness in reducing overall waste and loss of food. This aligns with our government's vision of maintaining environmental resource sustainability and achieving food security principles."

Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director of Marketing Centers at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, reiterated the company's dedication to promoting environmental sustainability across its shopping centers. He emphasized their commitment to collaborating with tenants and encouraging food and beverage outlets to participate in the initiative, showcasing Majid Al Futtaim's aspiration for a collective effort towards a sustainable future.

Sharaf said, "Our strategic partnership with the UAE Food Bank and Replate signifies the commencement of our journey towards achieving Majid Al Futtaim's goal of achieving a net positive by 2040. In just two months, the 'Feed the Future' pilot initiative has saved over 2,000 meals (15 kg daily), conserving 2.28 million liters of water, and mitigating the emission of 2,050 kg of CO2."

Maen Mahfoud, Founder and CEO of Replate, emphasized the need for pioneering policies and government support for entrepreneurs to expand their work. He highlighted the model's role in strengthening cooperation between the social and environmental sectors to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Manal bin Yaarouf, Chairperson of the UAE Food Bank Steering Committee, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the Bank and Majid Al Futtaim management to motivate a substantial number of food establishments, restaurants, and hotels to actively participate in this initiative. The goals include creating a clean, carbon-free environment and enhancing their contribution to food security for all.

Through this initiative, the Bank aims to expand its participant base in the future, fostering a culture of zero food waste and promoting healthy practices among all food establishments across Dubai's malls and shopping centers.

Replate, a global company leveraging technology, will gather data on daily quantities of donated food from donation fridges and provide the UAE Food Bank with periodic reports, including daily, weekly, and monthly updates. These reports will analyze the amount of waste reduction, measure the rate of food waste reduction, and assess environmental pollution reduction achieved through minimizing carbon emissions from surplus food conversion and recycling.

Since December 2022, Replate initiated a pilot study to measure the public's interest in food donations. During the initial phase, food donations reached 74 meals, while in May 2023, the number of donations increased to 1,210 per month. This resulted in the preservation of a ton of food and 2,284,884 liters of water, as well as the reduction of CO2 emissions.

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