Food waste is worldwide problem
Here the focus of food waste is on the USA but I see this still being a problem in other Western countries.
When visiting the U.S. and Europe I often witness how consumers simply buy too much, stuff it in the fridge, use a little and then shamelessly throw away because it is “past date”. Or they prepare the food and throw away many parts that could be used. The excuse is, too old, cheap anyway (it was in promotion!), and “what’s your problem?”
I am shocked because the way I was brought up is “to never waste food”.
However the problem is more serious because before the food really arrives at the consumer, mountains were wasted due to poor storage, the fickle attitude of the big chains, the whole system.
Happily we see a trend where some shops now sell separately the “ugly produce”, or find a channel to unload the unused or “too old” produce (e.g. to charity or recycling).
The issue is also discussed in my book Toxic Capitalism.
So what are YOU doing about it?
See the full article here, dated 13 July 2016, highly recommended:
The Guardian article
Some main lines:
– Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment. Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards.
– Food waste is often described as a “farm-to-fork” problem. By one government tally, about 60m tons of produce worth about $160bn, is wasted by retailers and consumers every year – one third of all foodstuffs.
– Scarred vegetables regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labor involved in harvest. Or left to rot in a warehouse because of minor blemishes that do not necessarily affect freshness or quality. When added to the retail waste, it takes the amount of food lost close to half of all produce grown, experts say.
– Some supermarket chains and industry groups in the US are pioneering ugly produce sections and actively campaigning to reduce such losses. But a number of producers and distributors claimed that some retailing giants were still using their power to reject produce on the basis of some ideal of perfection, and sometimes because of market conditions.