The UKAA was delighted to be host its first ‘customer/resident’ orientated roundtable, on the very important topic of ‘helping to fight food waste’. This was presented by Beko Plc, who are very active in this truly global issue. Many thanks to JLL for kindly letting us host the round table at their stunning central London office, providing the perfect setting.
This was an extremely insightful round table highlighting the levels of food waste by our nation and how smart technology could help residents. The introduction highlighted ethics and the level of buy-in required from the residents to follow this through. It was easy to believe Beko are truly at the heart of attempting to address a number of global issues, they even have a giant tree standing in the middle of their office and only work with ethical companies. Owning their own recyclable plant, Beko thinks along the lines of recyclability. If the resident is environmentally conscious then they will be easy to carry along on this journey. Partnership is key, if you can work with your residents then this will have more of a chance of succeeding. Technology can definitely help here. The future will see more smart fridges with features ranging from meat drawers with traffic light systems, telling you when the meat is no longer safe to eat, scanning of fridge contents to then let you know the life span and quantity when you are out shopping through a mobile app. With the left overs, recipes will be recommended. Beko have ranges that are affordable for developments and are current suppliers to many of our members.
How much do we waste
The average British household wastes £720 of food per year and as a country we waste 7 million tonnes of food every single day. Beko suggested cooking any food that no longer looks so fresh and freezing, this should also be done with left overs. The world does not need to produce more food, we just need to get smarter with what food we do have. There is a lot of confusion of ‘use by dates’ and expiry dates. Education of this subject is needed and could be provided by you to your residents.
The round discussed at what stage the most wastage takes place, it became apparent this happens right through the system; farm gate to supermarket to supplier, a system that clearly needs to evolve.
Food for soul was a campaign that had a celebrity chief, Massimalon, as an ambassador, helping to carry the concerning message of food waste to the wider public. Having a much further reach than Beko, Massimalon was able to hold talks with the likes of the US president at the time, Obama, putting pressure on leaders to join the movement. As a company, you would have more reach and influence of in your local community. By campaigning on behalf of your residents you could act as the influencer, growing the CSR of your brand.
During the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, as part of the Food for Soul campaign food waste from the athletes village was collected and cooked. This was then taken out in the surrounding streets and offered to people within poorer communities. Just as we attempt to increase the education of Build to Rent, there similarly needs to be the same education around food waste.
How the right appliance impacts food waste
The round table discussed whether residents would pay more for a more technical fridge with the traffic light system or scanning system previously mentioned. Beko have designed a fridge with food waste in mind, some of their innovative technologies include:
- Super Fresh Zone – low temperature drawer for meat, fish and dairy
- Vitamin Care Zone – blue LED lights to maintain vitamin content
- Air Flow Cooling – multiple air vents keeps an even temperature throughout
- Duo Cooling – two separate cooling systems
- Ion Fresh – neutralises harmful bacteria
- Odour Filter – removes odours
The round table made reference to the US, where they take more recommendation to appliances from the design stage and upselling is around appliances installed.
There was a debate around how much response times for maintenance have an impact, the UKAA members who use Beko clearly stated this has not been a problem with Beko. The discussion flowed onto the subject of integrated vs standalone appliances. This also has a huge impact on the time of repairs, if an appliance cannot be fixed onsite, removing an integrated appliance could bring damage to the appliance. Renters are very concerned about aesthetics and integrated appliance are usually more popular. The ‘story’ of the appliance is the added value emphasising the positive environmental impacts, this needs to be told at the flat viewing stage, selling a compelling appliance.
There are a number of events being organized for residents, it could be wort organizing a worthy event around food waste or hosting workshops. Your area may have local charities already addressing food waste, creating a partnership would expand the community involvement. An architect present informed the round table of the increase of allotments being factored into developments and a general increase in sustainability.
Discussions around how developments can get food to Beko to make good use of took place, this could be done through the instalment of a Beko community fridges. The usage of this fridge could go many ways, not solely for Beko to collect food waste to deliver to charities, it could be used to place food in for other residents if for example you are off on holiday.
We can use our role in the BtR sector to get residents excited and inspire a change of behaviour in the tenant. We could create a millennial generation that cares.
There was a wealth of knowledge and ideas discussed, thank you to everyone who attended! Please look out for our next round tables for a chance to attend and get involved.
Please click here to see a copy of the UKAA Respect Food Presentation.