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17 April 2024

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

By E247

The UAE Food Bank has signed a cooperation agreement with Majid Al Futtaim and Replate to enable all food enterprises at Majid Al Futtaim’s trading centers to donate surplus food suitable for human consumption. This initiative aims to redirect food surplus towards workers and other beneficiaries, further minimizing wastage.

This collaboration aligns with the UAE Food Bank's commitment to provide food to people who need it through expansive and sustainable initiatives. It further supports the UAE’s vision of becoming a global leader in the Food Security Index by 2051, a key objective outlined in the National Food Security Strategy 2051.

The First of its Kind
This partnership represents a groundbreaking initiative that is the first of its kind in the UAE. Through this pioneering move, the UAE Food Bank will distribute food donations and surplus food from participating food establishments situated at the Mall of the Emirates, which will serve as the inaugural experimental mall. This effort is in line with a comprehensive set of aesthetic standards and guidelines that contribute to enhancing the role of food enterprises, commercial establishments, and marketing centers in responsible preservation of blessings.

The teams at the Food Bank conducted training sessions for food establishments, offering necessary guidance at every stage of the food donation process. This included instructions on collecting surplus and good food, ensuring proper packaging, facilitating appropriate transportation, and trading to donation refrigerators. These activities were carried out under the supervision of health supervisors accredited by the Food Safety Department of each food institution operating within the Mall of the Emirates.

H.E. Dawoud Al Hajri, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees, emphasized the vital role of partnerships in advancing the Bank's vision, mission, and values. Al Hajri underscored the significance of efficient planning and management of food surplus to establish the Bank as a sustainable food bank, and a global leader and keep updated with future trends, in line with the UAE's objective of supporting values of sustainable development. Al Hajri highlighted the Food Bank as an integrated humanitarian system with key objectives that include raising the value of feeding food, minimizing waste, and delivering high-quality food to beneficiaries. These objectives are the core of the Bank's institutional values that are centered on humanity, generosity, sustainability, and community responsibility.

Al-Hajri said: “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, in line with the strategic global directions and objectives outlined in sustainable development initiatives.”

For his part, Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director of Marketing Centers at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, reiterated the company's dedication as a leading shopping destination to promote environmental sustainability across its shopping centers. He emphasized their commitment to collaborate with tenants and encourage 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. These outcomes underscore our unwavering commitment to creating a positive influence on the local community and the environment.”

Maen Mahfoud, Founder and CEO of Replate said: “There is a need for pioneering policies and government support for entrepreneurs to expand their work. This model helps in strengthening the cooperation between the social and environmental sectors, which will further help in achieving the impossible.”

Joint Cooperation
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. This will involve increasing awareness of the initiative’s terms and objectives, emphasizing the significance of preserving food, and encouraging these establishments to fulfill their social responsibility towards others (beneficiaries). 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.

Advanced Technologies
Replate is one of the global companies leveraging technology to link businesses, restaurants, global events, and any entities with surplus food to those in need of meals within the community.

In this ongoing initiative, the company will gather data on daily quantities of donated food from food donation fridges and provide the UAE Food Bank with periodic reports, including daily, weekly, and monthly updates. These reports will be submitted after an analysis of the amount of waste reduction from surplus food, measuring the rate of food waste reduction in conjunction with waste management practices, and assessment of the 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.