May 23rd 2023


MCI students create a network map in cooperation with the Tiroler Sozialmarkt (TISO) in the area of tension between food waste and poverty reduction

"With the increased prices for food and the persistently high energy prices, we see in social counselling that people already have no money left at the beginning of the month after deducting fixed costs," says Michael Landau, President of Caritas Austria, Zeit im Bild Austria, August 7, 2022.

In Austria, about 1.3 million people are at risk of poverty in 2023. This means that adequate housing, healthy and varied food or even holidays and social participation are hardly or no longer affordable for affected persons. In addition, 200,000 people are considered to be severely materially deprived, which means that they have to involuntarily do without certain consumer goods and services (e.g. washing machine, mobile phone, adequate heating) and thus experience considerable restrictions in their quality of life.

The massive inflation, starting in 2022 and continuing in May 2023, means that expenses for rent, food, leisure activities, mobility and health are major challenges for more and more people in Austria and experiences of poverty are increasing. Children, older people/pensioners, migrants, single mothers and an increasing number of students are particularly affected. At the same time, about 1 million tonnes of food are wasted or disposed of unused in Austria every year.

This is precisely where the practical project of the MCI Nonprofit, Social and Health Management program comes in. Together with the partner organisation Tiroler Sozialmarkt (TISO) with its managing director Michaela Landauer, the students are working on acquiring more affordable food for people who are entitled to it. The main beneficiaries are people with low household incomes who have difficulties covering their basic needs. This is precisely where TISO tries to provide help in a low-threshold and unbureaucratic manner.

The primary goal of the cooperation is to acquire potential food donors, with producing companies in Tyrol being particularly relevant. In addition to social support, the work of the Tyrolean Social Market also aims to promote the use instead of waste of food by collecting surplus or "unattractive" products from local and regional supermarkets, traders and farms and offering them at TISO at greatly reduced prices. In this way, food that is close to its expiry date, has blemishes or has been mislabelled does not have to be thrown away, but still serves a social purpose. The project results will be presented at the MCI on June 26, 2023.