Development of a food sharing programme in Russia
The development of a food sharing programme in Russia
It is assumed that supermarkets can give food products that are close to their expiry dates to those in need. But this is not profitable, as supermarket chains must pay VAT rates, making giving away food more expensive than recycling.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, more than 17 million tons of food waste is generated annually in Russia. The Ministry has decided it is necessary to develop a food sharing programme.
“If supermarket chains donate food with short shelf lives to charity, they can support those in need and save about one million tons of food per year. This issue needs to be solved and discussed with the Federal Tax Service, as such an operation must be exempt from VAT”, the Ministry explained.
In addition to the humanitarian issue, the Ministry noted that the disposal of such a large amount of food waste, as is the case now, negatively affects the environment. The chairman of the Consumer Union of the Russian Federation, Peter Shelischch, believes that if the food sharing programme works, then charitable foundations will be able to receive products from private companies. According to Shelishch, charities should have lists of those who need to be provided with food. For example, those who are officially unemployed and receiving housing subsidies from the government.
Previously, the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed to launch a Food Certificate programme to allocate money to low-income families to buy food. Not only is the trial programme not working, but the Ministry of Finance has stated that there is no budget for it.
In 2021, the Ministry of Finance asked to cancel VAT on products transferred to food-sharing programmes.