SavingFood: The pilot in Hungary
The case of Hungarian Foodbank Association
The main stakeholder of the SavingFood platform in Hungary is the Hungarian Food Bank Association. The Food Bank is far the biggest food surplus redistribution organisation in the country. The Association was founded in 2005 and is a member of the European Federation of Food Banks.
Surplus food redistribution is the core activity of the food bank and the SavingFood platform development perfectly fits to the development of the organisation and fulfilling future plans.
Food banks traditionally work in a centralized logistics model. The centralised model means the food surplus donors offering their donations and the donations are shipped to a central food bank warehouse either by the donor or by using the transportation capacities of the food bank. After the donations arrive to the food bank, the operators get in contact with recipient organisations who are in direct contact with people in need and offer the donations for them. After a recipient organisation accepts the donation they are organising the transport from the food bank warehouse to the place of the distribution towards the final recipients. The transport is usually arranged by the recipient organisation.
The process that will be developed and enhanced within the SavingFood Platform framework in the Hungarian Food Bank will provide a new opportunity for redistribution, the decentralised logistics model.
In the decentralised model the food surplus offerings are not going to a central warehouse but they are directly sent to the recipient organisations thereby enabling quicker and more flexible operations. This operation seems to be very efficient especially in the food retail environment, where frequent, small quantity and very close expiration products are offered by the donor.
The SavingFood Platform both in terms from the community and process point of view and in terms of the portal functionality well supports the direct distribution approach, therefore it created a perfect fit with the Food Bank activities.
During the project from the very beginning HFA have involved all relevant people within the food bank, involving both the organisations’ employees and the core team volunteers who are actively taking part in managing food bank operative activities.
During the project HFA has targeted and contacted with some important public authorities relevant to their work.
The main goals of cooperation with public authorities was on one hand to discuss regulatory requirements in relation to the SavingFood implementation activities, on the other hand cooperation in contacting and engaging other stakeholder groups, especially donors and recipient organisations.
They have targeted these organisations via the Food is Value – a voluntary platform working in Hungary consisting of more than 50 organisations acting in the domain of food waste reduction.
Within this framework HFA could also develop a very good cooperation with another EU project, the project called “Wasteless” (http://maradeknelkul.hu) coordinated by the Hungarian Food Safety Authorities.
The Hungarian Food Bank Association will definitely further develop the activities carried out within the framework of the SavingFood project.
As they have stated they strongly believe in the efficiency of the decentralised/direct distribution and they see several segments where they could further grow the activities. There are nationwide retail chains that are still „uncovered” by food surplus redistribution partners (already showing interest) and there is a lot of smaller scale local donors (small retailers, bakeries, etc.) who can be connected to the network.
“We will continue to grow the recipient organisation base as well, providing them the necessary trainings and tools, especially the SavingFood platform application enabling them to forward the maximum possible amount of food to people in need.”
The SavingFood Ambassador and volunteer base will be an important foundation for the future development.