To put it bluntly, a recent British study claiming that up to half of the world’s food goes to waste is disturbing and unsettling. Why is there such a high rate of food waste in a society plagued by famine, and what steps can we take to address the problem?
The stark income disparity between first and third world countries lies at the heart of this disturbing figure. As consumers privileged to live in a first-world country, what we so casually discard would be considered a lavish dinner for those battling to survive in third-world countries, where they face disease and famine on a daily basis. We need to improve our buying patterns by being more selective in our food choices, reducing waste, and being more proactive in supporting organizations that help and contribute to famine relief.
Everyone’s feelings on eating are different. While eating, some people silently meditate, meditating on the nutritional content and general health advantages. Many people, on the other hand, do not, and have a negative attitude toward food. We’ve grown accustomed to shopping carts loaded with foodstuffs produced from all around the world. The majority of it is packaged and processed. The vast majority of these items have “use by” dates on them, leading customers to believe that even fully processed and preserved foods lose their appeal after a short period of time.
Citizens who have witnessed prior wars and detention camps would be appalled by such waste. ‘Use by’ or ‘best before’ dates can now be found on almost anything. Products that would have been acceptable in the past much beyond their current ‘use by’ dates are now discarded as a matter of course. We must consider whether the “use by date” mentality has been fostered in part to increase product sales. Manufacturers understand that when faced with a “use by” date, people are more likely to discard product that is still edible and safe to eat. We’ve set aside common sense and the ability to recognize when food is spoiled, rotten, or mouldy, which has evolved over millions of years in all of us.
“We now generate almost four billion metric tons of food each year. Despite this, it is estimated that 30-50 percent (or 1.2-2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human being due to inadequate harvesting, storage, and transportation procedures, as well as market and consumer wastage “intestines”
The current food distribution and marketing system, which is dominated by very large international corporations, creates “unrealistic” market competitiveness. In order to compete for the consumer dollar, supermarket chains will source products from all over the world and sell them to customers regardless of seasonal availability. A waste component is built into such a system. Some items are simply not fresh when they arrive on the grocery shelf, and buyers are inclined to reject them. The vendor, on the other hand, continues to run the produce line, despite the fact that it is less profitable. Customers will return to their store for other lines just because it is available. With less concentration in the food sector, vendors will be less willing to carry unprofitable lines, resulting in reduced wastage in shipping and distribution.
The key to reducing the tremendous food waste that occurs around the world is education. Multinational corporations that give up less-than-ideal supermarket lines to the compactus should change their ideas. It is wasteful and unnecessary to reject vegetables because they do not fit the stereotype demanded by grocery chains and food processing corporations. Living in a first-world country should not prevent us from freely disposing of edible food. People in third-world countries are grateful for everything they eat and do not take it for granted. We need to pay more attention to the world’s growing population and the critical role that fair food availability plays. Increased population pressures us to use arable land and water as efficiently as possible, as well as sustainably exploit natural resources to assure their availability for future generations. The other side of the same coin is becoming less wasteful with our food consumption.