Dubai: Mall of the Emirates, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim, has launched its first rescue food programme — ‘Feed the Future’. The new initiative focuses on recovering leftover and edible food from restaurants, cafés, the Food Court, and workforce catering in the mall and repurposing it to the community.
Teaming up with up with technology platform Replate, vendors at the mall will be able to schedule and manage donations, and coordinate pickups with the UAE Food Bank, which then distributes those contributions to charitable organisations and groups, including workers in communal housing and families.
Plus, tenants can also donate to the mall’s ‘Feed the Future Fridge’ by registering online, enabling those who need it most to have access to free food when they visit the mall. Located on the first floor, next to “Le Burger” aisle, Mall of the Emirates aims to provide 200 meals each week.
Dangers of food waste
According to Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, the UAE ranks among the top nations for per capita waste generation in the world, where roughly 38 per cent of the food prepared every day in the country is wasted. The decomposition process of food waste emits methane gas, which is reportedly 25 times more damaging than CO2. Subsequently, the UAE imports 90 per cent of food, making it particularly susceptible to food scarcity and insecurity. To address this issue, ‘Feed the Future’ utilises Replate to automate the food rescue process and connect F and B outlets in the mall to communities in need, all while adhering to the highest sustainability criteria in food preparation.
Additionally, the platform will track the environmental and social impact of ‘Feed the Future.’ Food and beverage (F&B) outlets will have access to the total pounds of food they have donated each month, along with meals created, water saved, and carbon dioxide diverted from the atmosphere in the process. They will also be provided with source reduction tools to monitor patterns, reduce future waste, and save money.
Food Bank’s future direction
Sayed Essam Al Hashimi, acting director of Food Security Department at Dubai Municipality, representing the UAE Food Bank, said: “The future directions of the UAE Food Bank include expanding strategic partnerships with food establishments, companies and hotels to donate surplus food, digital transformation to ensure easy access to the largest number of beneficiaries and donors, contributing to the circular economy, and expanding and spreading globally and regionally to reach out to the largest number of beneficiaries worldwide.”
Food water reduction
Fuad Sharaf, managing director, UAE Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said: “As a leading shopping destination, we have an important role to play in supporting and protecting the environment, so we look forward to working alongside our tenants in Mall of the Emirates to collectively tackle the critical issue of food waste. Our strategic partnership with Replate and the UAE Foodbank is only a starting point in our sustainability journey as we work towards Majid Al Futtaim’s goal of becoming Net Positive by 2040. Mall of the Emirates encourages all its F&B outlets to join this initiative and work towards sharing and reusing resources for a sustainable future.”