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Friday, June 14, 2024

PATA announces BUFFET for Youth Challenge winners

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the winner of the PATA BUFFET for Youth Challenge, Food Saviors from India representing the National Institute for Tourism and Hospitality Management, for their impact in reducing food waste on campus. The Challenge was implemented as part of PATA’s efforts in addressing food waste in the tourism and hospitality industry through the BUFFET (Building an Understanding For Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative.

Following the first two ‘courses’ of the BUFFET for Youth Challenge, where each team formulated and implemented a plan to minimise food waste on their campus or within their communities, three teams made it to the final “Dessert” round of the Challenge: Food Saviors from the National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management, India; We Care from Mid-Valley International College, Nepal, and Eagle Eagle from Yonsei University Korea (ROK). The Challenge incubated innovative ideas and created awareness of the very real problem of food waste in the hospitality industry.

“We are really proud of this moment and are rejoicing from all the hard work and effort we put into understanding food waste particularly from plate scraping. It was a wonderful and eye opening experience for the team in learning about the serious issue of food waste management. We started with a team of four and, through our food waste awareness campaign, the importance of reducing food waste has spread throughout the campus,” said Brahmanand Reddy, Team Lead – Food Saviors.

“I would like to wholeheartedly thank PATA for organising this very important challenge and giving us this life-changing opportunity. We have a saying in India, Annam parabrahma swaroopam, and in English it means, Food is equal to God – think about that when you throw out your food.”

Food Saviors was recognised for their initiative in addressing plate waste by measuring the amount of plate scrapings at the canteen on campus and highlighting the issues through an awareness raising campaign with creative posters, quizzes, and videos. In just one month, Food Saviors’ efforts saw a nearly 48% decrease in plate waste. By the end of the fourth month in implementing the awareness campaign, plate scrapings were reduced by 59% from the baseline. Furthermore, the team appointed “Food Champions” on campus to ensure that the impact of their efforts extends beyond this Challenge.

PATA CEO Dr, Mario Hardy, impressed by the teams’ efforts, said, “The youth of today will become the leaders of tomorrow and the BUFFET for Youth challenge aimed to equip our future industry leaders with the skills and knowledge to tackle the challenge of food waste that is prevalent in our industry. The travel and tourism industry is seeing unprecedented exponential growth and if this growth is not sustainable, the structure on which the hospitality industry is based will collapse.”

With generous support from the BUFFET Initiative sponsor, The Travel Corporation, Food Saviors has been invited to present their project as part of the PATA Youth Symposium during the PATA Annual Summit 2019 in Cebu, Philippines. Their case study will also be published in the PATA Food Waste report to be released later this year, and showcased on the PATA sustainability website, sustain.PATA.org. In addition, the winning team work will be featured on a dedicated blog post on sustain.pata.org. Lastly, all Food Saviors team members will be registered as PATA YTP Student Members. The winner was determined by a judging panel made up of food waste reduction experts comprising Abigail Smith, COO – Scholars of Sustenance (SOS); Maxime Pourrat, Director, APAC – Winnow Solutions; Veronika Forstmeier, Senior Hospitality Programme Officer – World Wildlife Fund (WWF); JC Wong, Young Tourism Professional Ambassador – PATA, and Chi Lo, Sustainability & Social Responsibility Manager – PATA.

The BUFFET Initiative brings together a coalition of industry partners and PATA members to create and implement a campaign that challenges our region and our industry, particularly the hospitality sector, to reduce food waste to landfill. The main activities in this initiative include raising awareness of food waste in our industry, and the creation of Asia-Pacific focused activities and resources for hoteliers and other hospitality and tourism professionals to drive positive change and ultimately reduce their food waste to landfills.

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