Our Partners Schweizer Tafel: Don't Throw Away, Distribute

Schweizer Tafel: Don't Throw Away, Distribute

Every year in Switzerland, two million tons of food end up in the trash. It doesn't have to be that way, as the Schweizer Tafel has shown. It collects surplus food that is in perfect condition and distributes it to charitable institutions free of charge. How does it operate? And what can each of us do to combat food waste?

The Schweizer Tafel Distributes More than 17,000 Kg of Food Every Day

Foodstuffs in perfect condition are never surplus to requirements. They may no longer be needed by some, but others are desperate for them. The Schweizer Tafel hunger relief organization has been pursuing this principle since 2001.

Across Switzerland, the employees collect 17,100 kilos of food from wholesalers, producers, and retailers every day. The food is given free of charge to charitable institutions such as shelters for the homeless, soup kitchens, emergency accommodation, and other welfare organizations.

The Schweizer Tafel collects food on which the sell-by, but not the use-by, date has expired. These products are in perfect condition and can still be put to good use. The work is funded from donations and money from foundations.

Too Much Food Is Thrown Away

The Schweizer Tafel is primarily concerned with people in need, but also raises awareness about food waste. Every year in Switzerland, around two million tons of food are thrown away – that is equivalent to around a full meal per day for every person in the country.

But this is not caused by private households alone. The agricultural sector, the processing industry, and the wholesale/retail trade also create a lot of food waste.

Food Wastage and Sources in Switzerland

Food Wastage and Sources in Switzerland

Source: Own diagram based on www.schweizertafel.ch

Five Tips for Preventing Food Waste at Home

However, most food waste is caused by the end consumer, in other words each and every one of us, which makes it all the more important that everyone allows less food to find its way into the trash can. These five tips will help you to be more aware about dealing with food:

Don't shop with your stomach but with your head

People who plan their meals for the week ahead and make a list before going shopping are more aware shoppers. Also, it's much better to buy fresh, perishable products in small quantities and more frequently – before they end up in the refrigerator and can no longer be used. And, never go shopping when you're hungry; it's too tempting.

Store foodstuffs correctly

Dry foodstuffs such as flour or pulses, as well as canned goods and oils, are best kept in a store cupboard. Perishable items, such as milk, meat, eggs, vegetables that are not sensitive to the cold, and leftovers belong in the fridge. Vegetables that are sensitive to the cold and potatoes are best stored in the cellar or the pantry.

Every year in Switzerland, CHF 2,010.27 per household ends up in the trash.

Distinguish between "use-by" and "best-before"

The best-before date means that food has a long shelf life and can still be consumed even after the date. For health reasons, food with a use-by date must no longer be consumed once the date has expired.

Put leftovers to good use

It is very easy to make new dishes from leftovers in the fridge or pantry. It is fine to warm old bread up again, and floppy vegetables become usable again once they've been in some water. Very ripe bananas are perfect for shakes and baking. On the "Restegourmet" website, you can find lots of great recipes to help you feast on what's in your refrigerator till it's empty.

Don't order too much at a restaurant

Even if it's nice to treat yourself at a restaurant, the leftovers are always thrown away. To avoid this, it's better to order less, and then you can always order some more if you're still hungry.

Schweizer Tafel Soup Day on November 24

Schweizer Tafel Soup Day on November 24

November 24, 2016 is another Soup Day in many Swiss towns and cities. Every year, this Schweizer Tafel campaign draws attention to poverty and food waste. Many prominent figures also help to serve the soup for a good cause.

This year, Credit Suisse will be taking part for the tenth time in a row, and will be organizing a Soup Day stall at 11 locations in Switzerland and in nine staff restaurants – around 150 Credit Suisse employees will be involved.

The Soup Day will be held at the following Credit Suisse locations: Bienne, Olten, Liestal, Rheinfelden, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Sursee, Wädenswil, Zofingen, Zug, Zurich Sihlcity.

Apart from its involvement in Soup Day, Credit Suisse has been a partner of the Schweizer Tafel since 2001 and supports the organization with financial donations. Since 2011, CS employees have also had the opportunity to assist on the Schweizer Tafel's distribution runs.