Food, glorious food. With the passing of the most greedy and fattening time of the year, new figures have come onto the scene, revealing really rather shocking amounts of food waste. It’s all over the news, and for good reason.
Day after day we’re seeing aid adverts on TV, depicting starving children who are dying due to lack of food, and yet it comes to light that as much as half of the world’s produced food is going to waste. That’s produced, and often packaged but never eaten. A large amount is even bought, but never eaten, as it’s often gone off, or past its best before date.
The report released this week by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers entitled Waste Not, Want Not shows that of the four billion tonnes of food that’s produced globally each year, over half is never eaten. TWO BILLION TONNES OF FOOD WASTED. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m more than fond of most types of food, and I never thought my lifelong committed relationship with food was ever wasteful. But it has got me thinking… Am I wasteful? Could I be making more of an effort to waste less?
There are a few things the report pin points as to the main culprits of this mass food frittering, and some have come as a little shock to me! Firstly, the wastage from people discarding or, I prefer to say, rejecting any misshapen fruit and veg. So what if that carrot is a bit knobbly, or that apple isn’t a perfect… apple shape. EMBRACE THE UNIQUELY SHAPED FRUIT! Despite nearly 30% of fruit already having been given the boot because they didn’t fit the sellable criteria of consumers.
For a start, this fruit and veg discrimination just isn’t on. But there’s more. The student’s favourite BOGOF offers, in addition to the three-for-two, the half price and the even better, buy one get two free. I’m sure you’re familiar with the huge feeling of accomplishment when you get an awesome deal, and five times as many Muller yogurts (in my case) than you really need/can eat/ put up with.
And when we have too much food, the inevitable of one of these happens. You either eat it all, quickly, and put on a few pounds. Or forget about it, not being able to scoff it that quickly, and then it goes off. So (and I know I will) have a little think before I scoop those Muller corners into my basket. Do I need them? Am I just buying them because I can get double the price? Yes. Should I put them back?… Yes.
The figures say it all- and they don’t compute. The number of people going hungry against the amount of food going to waste… it’s just all wrong! And it’s not just over in less economically developed countries that suffer. The UK itself has some issues.
FareShare is a food waste charity, and they’ve recently told us that hunger is a growing problem in the UK, too. They estimate that 13.2 million people are living in poverty, and 5.8 million of them are in ‘deep poverty’- those who struggle to afford everyday essentials such as food and clothing.
Makes you think, doesn’t it. It could be that lady on the bus who struggles to feed her children, or the man working at the supermarket strapped for cash on minimum wage. It’s more than just being poor. It’s not having a dinner to go home to. Nothing in the fridge to have.. The more you think about it, the more it really dawns on you.
So, as a caring and anti-discriminatory member of the UK, I implore you to be less discriminative and elitist to your fruits and vegetables, and love them regardless of size or shape. And hold off on the bargain buying. If you’ve never had it before, but it looks good coz it’s half the usual price for twenty times as much- put it back.