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ne’ma Nudges the Hospitality Sector to Join Food Waste Reduction Movement

ne’ma Nudges the Hospitality Sector to Join Food Waste Reduction Movement

ne’ma Nudges the Hospitality Sector to Join Food Waste Reduction Movement 2

Behavioral pilot shows positive change, and scalable impact from suggested actions in a new guidebook for waste reduction

  • Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced a step-by-step guide for food waste reduction in buffets, restaurants and canteens based on a successful pilot in two major hotel chains in the UAE achieving over 40% reduction in food waste.
  • ne’ma, calls on the broad hospitality sector to lead the way in radically rethinking their current habits by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and pledges with leading hospitality partners to commit to proper food handling, preparing, sourcing and rescue efforts to limit food loss and waste across the whole value chain.
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ne’ma Nudges the Hospitality Sector to Join Food Waste Reduction Movement 3

Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 8, 2023: Her Excellency, Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, officially announced the ‘How to Reduce Food Waste Using Three Low-Cost Nudges – A Practical Guide for Canteens and Buffet Restaurants. The announcement marks a significant milestone in a series of efforts by ne’ma, the UAE’s national food loss and waste initiative, to engage with business sectors and individuals to meet the 2030 goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50%.

The announcement was made during the ne’ma Voices Forum in the presence of Her Excellency, and representatives from across UAE public and private sectors.

The Guidefocuses on three areas, referred to as nudges, that the hospitality sector can implement to educate the public on food loss and waste efforts, and foster positive behavioral changes:

  • Food loss and waste messaging, designed with the help of behavioral scientists to motivate diners to reduce their plated waste
  • Visual portion displays for diners, to show how much food they are ordering, and help them make more sustainable food decisions.
  • The introduction of a transparent bin and tracker, to serve as a visual reminder of the everyday impact of food waste 

Commenting on the announcement, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri said: “Commenting on the announcement, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri said: “The vision for food loss and waste reduction requires partnerships and long-lasting solutions to meet our goal for a reduction by 50% in 2030. Our commitment to a more sustainable future, exemplified by the ne’ma goal and today’s MoUs, are a significant step forward. I thank all who are helping shape this nation towards a better tomorrow. 2023 is the Year of Sustainability, the UAE is working towards its commitment to climate action, as we prepare to host COP28 – a COP for action.”

Speaking on the practical guide for canteens and buffet restaurants, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri added: “The guide tackles a larger societal issue of food wastage while dining out, by motivating people to make considered choices in ordering or wasting unconsumed food. By applying the measures to the hospitality sector, we are building on current momentum through collective efforts. With the use of innovation and technology we can transform our food systems into more sustainable ones.”.

The ne’ma Voices Forum hosted a panel discussion on collective action to reduce food waste in the hospitality sector with key partner speakers Tim Ramsey, Principal Advisor & MENA Lead at The Behavioural Insights Team; Scott Durand, Chief Executive Officer of Accuro Specialist Support Services; Sebastian Nohse, Senior Director of Culinary at Hilton EMEA; Marc Zornes, Founder of Winnow; and moderated by Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer, Emirates Foundation and ne’ma Committee Secretary General.

The discussion highlighted best practices and positive reinforcement that can have meaningful impact on food waste reduction, if scaled across the HoReCa industries. This was based on consumer insights including results of a successful pilot between ne’ma and Accuro with the support of behavioral science experts from the Behavioural Insights Team testing multiple nudging interventions. ne’ma encouraged hospitality and business to join the movement and scale up such nudges to support the UAE in achieving its reduction targets and their sustainability goals as organizations.

Speaking on the announcement, His Excellency Ahmed Taleb AlShamsi as Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Foundation said: “ne’ma is focused on increasing public awareness on food waste and changing current behaviors while measuring and capturing impact, to meet sustainable development goals. We are incredibly happy about the momentum we have had to date and look ahead to more aligned collective efforts towards a shared goal.”

“Through our collaborative efforts, and with the intelligence and force of our partners in the hospitality and technology, we are enabling a change in current waste-related behavior, promoting more positive and sustainable habits that contribute to preserving our food resources in line with the UAE’s national food security strategy”, he added.

The MoU was signed with leading industry partners Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) and Winnow.  Through it, each signatory pledges to work collectively towards the national target of reducing food loss and waste. MBRGI will be promoting awareness about food waste by partnering with supermarkets, retail chains, hotels, and restaurants to repurpose food items and rescue excess food left over from buffets at hotels and prevent it from going to landfill by redirecting, rescuing, and redistributing food to vulnerable communities across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Winnow’s technology leverages artificial intelligence to identify a wide variety of food waste and put a cost to it, that provides hotels and restaurants with data and insights on how and where to limit waste. Signatories agreed to test, adopt, and scale practices and guidelines stipulated in ‘How to Reduce Food Waste Using Three Low-Cost Nudges – A Practical Guide for Canteens and Buffet Restaurants’ guide and further ne’ma’s goals.

ne’ma is leading the national food loss and waste initiative along with ministries, public and corporate sector partnerships and community-based groups who continue to educate, inspire, and empower society in achieving its short-term and long-term goals as a nation.  The full guide can be accessed by visiting the ne’ma website.


About Emirates Foundation

Emirates Foundation was launched on 12 April 2005 as an initiative of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is chaired by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Emirates Foundation is a national organization set up to facilitate public-private funded initiatives to unite social responsibility across the UAE, by implementing research-based programs that meet the country’s needs towards sustainable community development.

The Foundation works with public and private sector partners to meet national goals, respond to society’s most pressing challenges and in the development of national competencies through digital smart platforms and defined through data-driven social needs.

About ne’ma

ne’ma the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, is a reflection of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, vision and call for action to address over-consumption and building a UAE-wide social norm around responsible and sustainable consumption, bringing back UAE’s rooted traditional values of social responsibility and good stewardship of national resources.

ne’ma is a collaboration between the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and Emirates Foundation, that will promote and align shared action by key national stakeholders including government, private sector, NGOs and communities to address food loss and waste across the whole value chain, from production to consumption, covering farms, producers, distributors, retailers, restaurants and households with the aim to tackle current behaviors and attitudes to build new national social norms around responsible consumption that contribute to food loss and waste reduction.

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ne’ma Nudges the Hospitality Sector to Join Food Waste Reduction
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