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Foodbank Vietnam

This Start-Up Social Enterprise is Tackling Vietnam’s Food Waste Problem

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Food-Bank-Vietnam-1Food waste in Vietnam has been an ongoing problem for years. Photo by Thuy Ca.

As the food waste produced in Vietnam reaches a critical amount, with new landfills marked out in provinces like Long An, the question of how to reduce the waste beckons urgent answers. Although over one million people in Vietnam live day-in and day-out in hunger, there’s no regulated system in place to deliver unused ingredients to these people.

Food Bank Vietnam – a Vietnam Red Cross and Youth Social Work Centre sponsored initiative – may be the solution. Established in January 2018, Food Bank Vietnam focuses on providing meals using food waste for community houses and homeless centres. Nguyen Tuan Khoi, VCRC’s deputy chairman, has led successful social enterprises such as Red Circle, a national blood donation initiative, as well as Garden for the Poor – an NGO that specialises in giving fresh produce to those in need. “A social enterprise takes years before it can be sustainable. Right now, we’re only at the embryonic stage of raising awareness with Food Bank Vietnam.”

Nguyen-Tuan-Khoi food wasteMr. Nguyen Tuan Khoi- Founder & CEO Foodbank Vietnam Photo by Thuy Ca.

Food Bank Vietnam are set to hold conferences to educate the public on food waste, and they are calling for restaurants as well as supermarkets to supply clean food for free meals. Nguyen also calls on Vietnam’s food and drink industry to promote the cause of saving food by hanging banners, posters, or applying even other stricter means. “In Europe, you can be fined for not finishing your meal, but Vietnam so far has no such knowledge of the issue,” opined Nguyen. In Germany, indeed, some restaurants charge guests for leftovers, while in France, supermarkets are banned for trashing food approaching best-before dates instead of donating. While the day of Vietnam following suit legislatively might remain far, corporations and private businesses now have the option of fighting food waste.

The next stage for Food Waste Vietnam would be to build a robust food counter from donations and subsidised ingredients from F&B businesses. According to Nguyen, as of August this year, Food Bank Vietnam has started discussions with over 100 stores and a few large markets regarding donation of fresh ingredients with decreased market values, such as produces with flawed appearances. “We’re fighting for a country that has no hunger and a large food bank for everyone in need,” he concludes.

For more information, you can visit Food Bank Vietnam here.