Some sustainable food for thought


By Fiona Mak, Head of Privacy, Bupa Hong Kong.

Like a lot of people living in Hong Kong, I am passionate about food and love to try out new restaurants and recipes at home. It’s a great way to connect with family and friends, broaden cultural horizons and celebrate special milestones.

Sadly, in recent times, I have learned there is a dark side to society’s obsession with food and our hunger for countless options and super-sized helpings. Wastage.

The food that gets left on the table

When I joined Bupa’s eco-Disruptive program, My team and I began researching some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our planet and while there were many (sadly), one piece of data really opened my eyes.

As much as half of the food produced in the world each year ends up as waste. The equivalent of 2 billion tonnes[1]! And when food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas 30x more potent than carbon dioxide[2].

This hit home on many fronts as I thought back to the countless times I have left some food on a plate in a restaurant after being full, cleared dishes at home of uneaten scraps or even attended over-catered events where the leftover food went… I don’t know where?

Fiona Mak, Head of Privacy, Bupa Hong Kong

Giving food a second life

We all agreed that food waste is inevitable as much as we try to buy and eat purposefully, however rather than get despondent, our team was energized by this challenge and sought to find a start-up that we could work with to turn this negative into a positive at scale.

After scouring the start-up eco-system across Asia Pacific, we found a company called Bardee, a company that utilises an innovative farming system to transform food waste into a high-quality carbon-positive protein for pigs, poultry and fish farming, and castings into organic fertilizer.

Simply put they are helping businesses like restaurants, hospitals, markets, corporates and more to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve zero food waste.

How can we help?

Bupa’s global network has a lot of food touchpoints such as hospitals, aged care homes and offices which each present their own food situation from large enterprises like full-scale catering to small things like a sandwich I might bring to the office from home. This means insights.

Together with Bardee, we hope to work on a solution that can change the way the healthcare industry looks at food waste. This is significant as the healthcare industry’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions[1].

With a change in behaviors and attitudes, we can change the word food waste into “food opportunity.” Because even a few leftover fries deserve to be part of a solution that helps people live longer, healthier and happier lives.

[1] https://www.health.vic.gov.au/planning-infrastructure/carbon-emissions-in-healthcare-facilities

[2] https://www.bardee.com/about