Swiss food-waste pioneer wins CHF200,000 prize

Some two million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in Switzerland. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

This year’s CHF200,000 ($204,000) J.E. Brandenberger Foundation prize has been awarded to Yvonne Kurzmeyer, founder of the charity organisation Schweizer Tafel. The organisation redistributes over 4,000 tonnes of food a year to underprivileged groups in Switzerland.

This content was published on August 21, 2019 - 14:25

Kurzmeyer was awarded the prize for her outstanding achievements in the redistribution of surplus resources to benefit those in need, the foundation announced on Wednesday.

Since 2000, Kurzmeyer has been pioneering efforts to redistribute quality food that has reached its expiration date.

Schweizer Tafel (Swiss Table) is now active in 12 regions in Switzerland, employing around a dozen staff and 80 volunteers. The organisation redistributes about 4,000 tonnes of food worth CHF26 million a year, the equivalent of about 16 tonnes a day.

Schweizer Tafel is funded entirely by donations and has helped raise awareness in Switzerland about hunger and food waste through its annual “Soup Day” campaign, now in its 16th year.

The Dr. J.E. Brandenberger Foundation was founded by Jacques Edwin Brandenberger, the inventor of cellophane, in memory of his daughter. Every year, it honours someone who has displayed dedication to improving the living conditions of people in need. Last year’s winner was Reto Knutti, a professor of climate physics at ETH Zurich.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place on November 30 in Bern.

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