As activists fight hunger, so much food going to waste
Globally, around one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost before it can reach consumers. In Ukraine there is no official data on the problem, but it is believed to be of similar proportions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
And that agency’s development program coordinator in Ukraine, Mykhailo Malkov, told the Kyiv Post that without reliable numbers, the country’s ability to tackle the issue is greatly diminished.
“One of the major gaps that I see is the establishment of the proper statistics gathering,” he said. “When you’re aware, then you can start to think about handling things.”
In Ukraine, food goes unconsumed owing to inefficiencies at all stages; from field to plate. At the level of production, losses occur through factors such as poor harvesting techniques and the use of outdated machinery. The problem is then compounded by a lack of proper storage facilities and poor logistics.
When food eventually reaches consumers, they too are guilty of waste. This can be down to things like items being thrown out unnecessarily because of confusion over expiry dates and “best before” dates on labels, or because restaurants serve portions that are simply too large for customers to manage.
Solutions, when they can be found in Ukraine, are being applied inconsistently and with varying degrees of success, says Malkov. What’s more, they more frequently come from the private sector, not government.
“Everyone is trying to develop their own approach, but there’s no clear system or standard for how it should be done,” he told the Kyiv Post.
The United Nations is ready to step in and offer guidance, but it is still waiting for an official request for help. The organization says what needs to be done is clear. “The first step is to identify the gaps at each step of the supply chain,” said Malkov. “Then we need to develop the technology and bring in the knowledge of what can be done to reduce losses and food waste, and we need to organize an awareness campaign together with civil society.”
There are already a number of actors in Ukraine doing what they can to minimize food waste. Among them is the activist network Go Dobro. Among their initiatives is a community refrigerator program. Refrigerators are placed on city streets so that anyone can leave an item or take something out.
“We feel inspired every day when we see how the refrigerators are working,” said Go Dobro’s Maksim Oboltus. “Slowly our friends and others who share our views are joining us. As a matter of principle we believe that no good deed is better than any other; everyone does as much as they can.”
Meanwhile, further efforts at food redistribution are being made by Food Bank Ukraine, which receives donations of food which it then passes on to charities across the country so that they can be given to those in need. Last year 229 tons of food went through the organization, but board member Anna Kocheshkova says this is just a fraction of what the charity could do if it had more resources.
“I think we could multiply that number by five at least,” she told the Kyiv Post. “But of course we don’t have enough staff now to operate, and we would need to find the money.”
Kocheshkova says the food bank does not get any help from the government and relies on volunteer efforts and private financial support. Further challenges arise when it comes to establishing cooperation with the suppliers of food, of which there are currently just eight on the food bank’s books, all of them multinationals. Earlier there were more but Ukraine’s tax system, which does not allow donations to be easily written off as expenses, means that for businesses it can be cheaper and
In the world of fast-moving technology and food culture, it seems like it is impossible to come up with an innovative food-related idea that has not already been put into effect. But these Ukrainian startups do the job just perfectly.
From breathtaking architectural cakes to customized meal plans to touchscreen restaurant tables allowing the instant placement orders without waiting, these businesses are bound to impress foodies in and out of Ukraine
Monthly food delivery service Mestnaya Eda ( Russian for “Local Food”) helps small Ukrainian food brands to get exposure.
Mestnaya Eda delivers a cute wooden box filled up with the products of around seven Ukraine food brands to a subscriber’s doorstep every month.
“Our task is to initiate the first encounter between the customer and the business and to help small businesses reach their target market,” Maryna Bulatskaya, the founder and owner of Mestnaya Eda says. “We put the contact details of the brands we work with on our website so that our customers can find them and buy from them in the future.”
Set up in 2014, Mestnaya Eda has found many interesting small brands already, but the service is constantly searching for fresh and exciting new ones.
To subscribe to Mestnaya Eda, go to: www.localfood.com.ua.
Upon entering a restaurant or a cafe, it becomes obvious how much technology has invaded modern lives because many people cannot stop looking at their phones even while eating. Thanks to the invention of Kyiv-based IT company Kodisoft, it is now possible to check Facebook newsfeed, read the news or look up weather right on a restaurant table surface.
But the main purpose of the Kodisoft’s touchscreen tables car- ries a deeper meaning. The interactive tables reduce the waiting time and the amount of staff needed due to allowing to place orders by viewing the restaurant’s menu directly on the touchscreen table and tapping the choice.
The tables are durable and stress-resistant having been tested with people walking on top of them, knives trying to cut through and more.
At the moment Kodisoft tables can be found in some places in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Limassol, Vladikavkaz and Lviv. Good Wine bar on the sixth floor of Kyiv’s luxury department store TSUM, will be the first venue to have this technology in Kyiv.
To find restaurants using Kodisoft interactive tables, go to: www.itrestaurant.net/restaurants.
While there are many diet delivery services in Ukraine, Foodex stands out with the fact they cater for far more than just gym-goers or people trying to lose weight. It has diet plans for the pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as for diabetics and people with other conditions that require a diet. One of the latest additions is a gluten-free diet plan.
“Of course, weight management is still one of our key orientations, but we are also shifting towards a medical angle right now,” the chief marketing officer of Foodex Oleksandra Maksymenko said.
Foodex, which started in 2014, has a nutritionist helping customers pick a diet plan according to their needs. Once the choice is made, a set of three meals and two snacks containing their recommended daily calorie amount will be delivered to their doorstep every morning, making healthy and balanced eating easier than ever. The average price is Hr 500 per day.
To subscribe to Foodex, go to: www. foodexhub.com.ua.
Why walk to the supermarkets and wait in lines to get served, when Zakaz.ua, a grocery delivery service, can deliver the goods right to the customer’s door? Founded in 2010, Zakaz.ua allows customers to order food from four major supermarkets in Kyiv: Auchan, Novus, Metro and Fozzy. The delivery fee starts at just Hr 59.
While there are many delivery services in Ukraine, Zakaz.ua stands out with the fact all their food items on the website contain quality up-to-date photographs. To achieve that, Zakaz.ua designed their own portable photo studio that can take 360-degrees photographs of every item in just one minute. The device resembles a plastic barrel with a rotating platform, on which a product is placed, and a camera installed inside is operated using the specially developed software.
The project was so successful in Ukraine, that after five years of operation it expanded abroad and entered the U.S. market in Boston.
To order groceries delivery, go to: www.zakaz.ua.
Ukrainian confectioner Dinara Kasko, a former architect, combines architecture and bakery by creating stunning geometrical cakes.
She draws her future cakes in a computer program 3D Max, used by designers and architects, then prints the form out using a 3D printer and makes a silicon mold that can be used for baking.
So those who crave something more fascinating than an ordinary brownie or Victoria Sponge cake, can replicate Kasko’s futuristic cakes by buying the silicone molds online for $43–55. The cake recipes come with every purchase.
Kasko’s cake molds are sold at www.dinarakasko.com/shop.
Ernest Fedorov and his sons put food into a community refrigerator they helped set up near their home in Kyiv. The food-sharing initiative is being spearheaded by activist network Go Dobro to combat hunger and reduce food waste. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
In 2016, Food Bank Ukraine distributed 55 million tons more than when it was founded in 2011. However, the organization says it needs even more food to meet demands.
Mestnaya Eda team packs a wooden box for one of their customers. Every month the delivery service sends around seven different Ukraine-produced food items to their subscribers with an aim of helping niche brands find their target audience. (Serhiy...
A woman uses one of the interactive tables designed by Kyiv-based IT company Kodisoft, in Vladikavkaz, Russia. Customers can place orders, check Facebook, read news and much more. (Courtesy)
Ukrainian confectioner Dinara Kasko uses 3D printing technologies to make her distinctive cakes. (Courtesy)