Centara joins in distribution of surplus food to the needy

Breaking News July 28, 2017 19:38

By The Nation

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Thailand’s largest hotel operator will participate in an innovative new charity operation that collects and distributes surplus food to benefit people in need starting in August.



Centara Hotels and Resorts will join the joint initiative of ThaiHarvest/SOS and Oz-Harvest to re-distribute quality surplus food. Experts estimate as much as a third of food produced for human consumption is wasted in the transport, distribution and preparation supply chain. When this food ends up in a landfill, it represents a tremendous waste of resources and a lost opportunity to help people unable to afford adequate nutrition.

The OzHarvest “food rescue” and redistribution system has proven a safe and efficient way to reduce this waste and also benefit the planet. Begun in Australia 14 years ago, it is now being replicated in the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Peru, Indonesia and Vietnam. An important part of the initiative is educating people about the problem and opportunity of food waste.

The Thai Foundation Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) and Thai Harvest will pick up good quality surplus food daily from participating supermarkets, hotels, food courts, restaurants and other businesses. Trained inspectors will sort the food and assure its safety. Food no longer fit for human consumption is taken to local farms for composting. The rest is refrigerated and delivered to the needy.

Since 2016 ThaiHarvest/SOS has donated over 60,000 meals to organisations such as Mercy Centre Orphanage, Half Way Homes for men and women, the Pak Kred Babies’ Home and the Poh Teck Tung Foundation.

In August Centara Hotels & Resorts will begin donating surplus food from its Centara Grand hotels at CentralWorld and Ladprao. Eventually it hopes for all its Thailand properties to participate. These main two properties will also arrange an event called “Master Class Dinner”. It will be led by Will and Steve, celebrity chefs who won Australia’s The Seven Network’s top rating cooking show in 2015 - My Kitchen Rules Australia. Will and Steve are supporters of OzHarvest campaigns and now ThaiHarvest/SOS.

“As we prepare food for our guests, unavoidably at the end of each day we have surplus – for example, bakery items or excess from a large banquet,” said Centara’s corporate director of food and beverage, Winfried Hancke. “It is a shame to let this food go to waste when there are so many people who could benefit from it.”

Supatra Chirathivat, Centara’s senior vice president for corporate affairs and social responsibilities, says the programme is a good fit with the company’s social responsibilities and sustainability goals. 

“Being a good member of the community means helping those less fortunate and using the earth’s resources more efficiently,” says Supatra. “We’re so enthusiastic to support the work of OzHarvest and ThaiHarvest/SOS. Food is an area where we can all help reduce waste. I hope our involvement helps educate and inspire others to do their part.”

Thai Harvest/SOS is happy to have Centara aboard.

“We are thrilled about the leadership taken by Centara to partner with us on our mission to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste through the re-distribution of quality surplus food. Their commitment and support will allow ThaiHarvest/SOS to both help reduce food waste in Thailand and at the same time, provide good meals to those in need in our community,” said Gopi Krishnan, head of programmes at OzHarvest and ThaiHarvest/SOS.

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