Good Food for Cities

Rikolto and FoodWIN: new partnership in Belgium

June 4, 2024
Jelle Goossens
Communications officer Rikolto in Belgium

News from our European office: FoodWIN, a Belgian organisation working towards a world without food waste, joins forces with Rikolto. It will continue to operate as a centre of expertise within Rikolto, guiding organisations and companies to reduce food loss.

Since 2015, FoodWIN has been working towards a world with less food waste. Through hands-on trajectories, the organisation has guided around eighty commercial kitchens of companies and governments, hotels, restaurants and food enterprises. FoodWIN will merge into the legal structure of Rikolto in Belgium but will continue these commercial services under its own brand name.

Rikolto and FoodWIN are no strangers. They have previously worked together on making commercial kitchens more sustainable and on Superlijst Milieu, a survey that examines the environmental efforts of supermarkets - including the prevention of food waste.

Complementary strengths

For both organisations, the integration comes at an opportune time. “With FoodWIN, we have a strongly developed commercial offer and a well-filled schedule with projects for various clients,” says outgoing coordinator David Leyssens. “At the same time, we face challenges at the organisational, logistical and staff level. Rikolto's structure gives us stability and a solid foundation for further growth.”

The expertise of both organisations is very complementary and offers unique opportunities. “Food loss is an ideal starting point for working with commercial kitchens because financial gains can be made in the short term”, says David Leyssens. “Building on Rikolto's expertise in sustainable food systems, we can broaden our collaboration with customers on other sustainability issues, such as the switch to more plant-based diets and inclusive trade relations with farmers and suppliers.”

Revaluing historical expertise

Also for Rikolto, the integration with FoodWIN comes at the perfect time. In addition to Rikolto’s work on making the food offer in schools and supermarkets more sustainable, the integration with FoodWIN allows Rikolto to work on a sustainable food offer for commercial kitchens.

“Until 2017, we conducted a lot of innovative projects with commercial kitchens, supporting them to become more sustainable on a social, economic and environmental level,” explains Thibault Geerardyn, director of Rikolto in Belgium. For example, Rikolto has worked with the kitchens of IKEA, the Antwerp Port Authority, VRT and the Antwerp-based student restaurant Komida. “After this pioneering role, we started to focus on the topic of good food at school, where our experience with commercial kitchens served us well. Once in a while, we were still asked to do support trajectories of commercial kitchens. However, due to lack of time, we never managed to develop a commercial offer around this issue. Thanks to FoodWIN, we can valorise our historical expertise again.”

Commercial competences

FoodWIN's commercial approach is an important input for Rikolto. “As a non-profit organisation, Rikolto works primarily with donations and grants. With FoodWIN, we can generate a revenue stream from commercial assignments in the future, and achieve our mission even better,” says Thibault Geerardyn. “Moreover, FoodWIN brings commercial competences into our team, which makes us more resilient as organisation.”

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