Plus, tips and ideas on how to help
Tomorrow (April 27th) is Stop Food Waste Day.
The fight against food waste is more important than ever, and is a central theme in the challenges the world currently faces, which also includes hunger and poverty. It is estimated that up to one-third of all food produced is wasted or lost each year, and with a population of 7 billion people, this is a colossal amount of food that simply cannot afford to be wasted.
Stop Food Waste Day was created in 2017 by Compass Group PLC in—a leader in global food service—whose commitment is to cut food waste in half by 2030. This is also aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goal 12.3.
The concept of not wasting food is often misunderstood to simply mean consuming everything you buy and not throwing anything away, when in actual fact it’s about not buying excess food or using more than you need, storing food correctly so you can use it later, and putting leftovers to good use.
So how to prevent food waste and what can you do to help?
Three central ideas of Stop Food Waste Day are:
-- PLAN YOUR SHOPPING AND DON’T OVER BUY
Although tempting, it really is better that you don’t make a trip to the supermarket when your stomach is grumbling. People who shop for food when hungry tend to buy more food than they would if they’d recently eaten.
Before you go shopping or order groceries online, check what is already in your fridge or pantry, and consider what you need to use up first. Also consider what you already have and buy new food that can be used with that, so that the food you already have won’t be overlooked in favor of the new food you buy.
Make a list based on the above advice to avoid impulse purchases of food that may go to waste later.
-- THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND
Freezers are great at preserving food. If you cook too much or have leftovers, your freezer can be used to keep these for consumption at a later date.
A freezer also allows you, with a little planning, to batch-cook food in advance and freeze the portions.
-- GET CREATIVE
Experiment with the food you already have. Check online for recipe ideas that specifically use the food or ingredients already in your kitchen.
Make bubble & squeak or frittatas with leftover food. There are all sorts of recipes online for making dishes from leftover foods, just do a search.
Here are some facts from Stop Food Waste that show the severity of the situation:
- 33% of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year.
- 45% of root crops, fruit and vegetables produced globally is lost or wasted
- per year.
- $1,866 the annual cost of food wasted by the average American family.
- 25% of the food wasted globally could feed all 795 million undernourished
- people in the world.
- 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions each year are due to food loss and waste.
Another thing you can do is make choices about the brands and products you buy.
There are some companies out there that are committed to reducing food waste and the environmental impacts of it. One such company is Toast Ale, who make beer from surplus bread! Yes, you read that right, beer from bread. That doesn’t mean they use the stale leftovers that can’t be sold. They still use fresh bread, but they partner with food manufacturers, such as sandwich factories that have no use for the heel of the loaf (end slices). They then use this bread to replace some of the grain that would be used to brew beer in the fermentation process.
Data shows that a significant amount of bread is wasted every day. The reason for this is that daily demand for fresh bread differs day to day, and bakeries and bread producers have to forecast how much they need to produce, typically producing more than is necessary to ensure they meet this demand. By re-purposing surplus bread in the way that Toast does to make ale, the bread, and more importantly the grain used to make it, hasn’t gone to waste.
End consumers are only one part of the problem. The issue of food waste is endemic throughout the food production, food service and retail industries. It is system-wide change that is needed, not only people changing their habits. Many growers for instance, often have a surplus crop that doesn’t even get harvested, it is just left to rot in the fields and then plowed back in. The reason for this is because it’s uneconomical for growers to harvest the entire crop if it cannot be sold, or if there are labor shortages. Imperfect-looking produce is also often not gathered, although there are now measures being taken to prevent food being left in the field with farm-to-food bank efforts.
The restaurant industry is notorious for its food waste, but in fairness, a large part of this is plate waste from the meal the customer hasn’t finished, with all you can eat restaurants being a particular problem in this regard.
In the retail sector, customer expectations for variety and freshness make inventory management difficult and forces stocking practices that lead to waste. About 50% of food waste in the retail sector is due to date label issues.
All-in-all, there is no one easy fix for the global food waste problem, and it will require change from the ground up. Farms, manufacturers, food service, retailers and consumers all need chip in to reduce the amount of food waste. Even small changes, if it as at all levels, will result in a dramatic reduction of how much food goes to waste.
So please be aware that tomorrow April 27th is Stop Food Waste Day. Let others know too. Maybe you can use it as a starting point in the fight to help reduce food waste. Perhaps you are already aware of the issue and take steps in your household to prevent it. Let us know!
At Kovol, we care about global issues and the importance of making efforts to help the world and the environment, which is why we’re using our blog to help highlight Stop Food Waste Day.
That’s it from us here at the Kovol Blog. Please visit us regularly for more interesting blog posts, product news, exclusive discounts, as well as following us on social media for fun giveaways.
Thank you and stay safe!