We’re all responsible for food waste
Food waste is, without doubt, one of the biggest issues facing the world today. In the UK, we’re talking 7 million tons of wasted food which could have been eaten every year, according to Love Food Hate Waste, 2015.
But food waste isn’t just expensive, it’s also damaging the environment. A hell of a lot of it is ending up in landfill.
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has launched a CEO-led Coalition of Action on Food Waste, bringing together 14 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers with the goal of halving per capita global food loss at the retailer and consumer levels.
The Coalition and its members, with their explicit CEO-level involvement, stress it is committed to action and will accelerate “sustainable change on a global level”, to reduce food loss in supply chains worldwide.
The new Coalition will build off five years of experience that the CGF has on tackling this issue, dating back to its Food Waste Resolution and call for standardised date labelling.
As effective as these measures can be, we also need a cultural shift in our attitudes towards food.
Tackling the main culprits of food waste in every sphere of the food and drink sectors will also go some way to addressing this problem. At a retailer level, everything from consumers implementing a meal plan to prevent over-consuming to being creative with leftovers should be on the table.
The removal of unnecessary plastic in supermarkets, particularly visible in fruit and veg aisles, has been overcome by buying items loose so you can choose exactly how much you’ll need.
There’s also been a recent shift from “use by” dates to “best before” to reduce the amount thrown away. Lots of fruits and vegetables are safe to eat long after their “best before”. Ignoring the date on the packet and actually checking the state of food is one way to decide whether it needs throwing or not.
CGF members have committed to addressing food loss at the post-harvest level, which is responsible for creating 30 per cent of food waste, by engaging with stakeholders to develop innovative and effective food loss prevention strategies.
Ignacio Gavilan, director of environmental sustainability at the CGF, said: “Food loss is a serious global problem and it can only be effectively addressed through committed collective action.”
A lot of time, money, and effort has been put into the foods we eat and yet it is seen as disposable. If we all change our attitudes and habits, we can stop food waste and make a change.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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