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FOOD WASTE AND HUNGER: WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

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In 2021, we have the resources and technology to eradicate hunger, yet one billion people cannot meet their daily calorie requirements.1 Food waste is a major problem for climate change and world hunger. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after China and USA).2 Our guest blogger, Harriet Drennan, RD, shares some facts about food waste in the UK and offers some tips on how we can help.

Food waste binThe term food waste refers to the reduction in quality or quantity of food resulting from actions and decisions by food service providers, retailers and consumers.3 Less food waste would lead to better water resource management and more efficient land use, with positive impacts on climate change and livelihoods.

By 2050, food production will need to increase by 60-70% to accommodate the 2.3 billion people joining the planet by then. The consequential use of additional electricity and transportation to accommodate this will, in turn, add to the production of greenhouse gases.It is estimated that food waste is worth £730 per year to each average UK family.1 

TIPS FOR REDUCING FOOD WASTE AT HOME

  • Plan meals prior to shopping.
  • Check what you already have at home prior to shopping.
  • Use leftover vegetables in soups, stews or curries.
  • Freeze any leftover meals or eat them for lunch the following day.
  • Remember, you can still eat most food shortly after its ‘Best Before’ date, as this refers just to the quality of the food, not the safety. Always refer to the ‘Use By’ date for the safety.
  • Check out this handy Food Storage guide from “Love Food Hate Waste” to discover how to prevent food perishing too soon.4

Food waste blog

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 2021

There are now apps to facilitate the reduction in food waste. Here are a couple to get you started:

TOO GOOD TO GO

Too Good to Go5 enables people to purchase surplus food from cafes and restaurants. The average price of a ‘rescued’ meal is £3, which is a large difference compared with a full-price meal. Supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, are also involved, offering ‘Magic Bags'’ containing dis-shaped vegetables and other surplus products for a largely discounted price. These sell out quickly though, so it’s best to check in the morning if anything is available.

Too Good to Go, however, is predominantly used in cities, so those in more rural areas don’t currently benefit from it. The hope is that restaurants in smaller towns and villages will begin to use this.

OLIO

Olio is an app providing more local opportunities to reduce food waste.6 Members of the public and supermarkets can upload food and non-food items they wish to discard. These often include vegetables, baby food and tinned products, which can then be purchased by anyone else with the Olio app, as long as the products can be collected.

Olio even offers an opportunity to become a ‘Food Waste Hero’, in which an individual can volunteer to help redistribute unsold surplus food.7 This food is then shared within their local community. Many popular businesses are involved, such as Sainsbury’s, Costa and Selfridges.

As well as reducing food waste, these apps also provide an option for lower income families to obtain food at discounted prices, which is something to consider when speaking with patients or clients.

Harriet Drennan, RD

Harriet is a Specialist Diabetes and
Acute Medicine Dietitian at the University Hospital
of North Midlands

[email protected]

References

  1. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2021). Food Loss and Food Waste [online] available from <http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/flw-data)> [29/3/21]
  2. Olio (2021). The Problem with Food Waste [online] available from https://olioex.com/food-waste/the-problem-of-food-waste/ [3/3/21]
  3. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2019). The State of Food and Agriculture [online] available from <http://www.fao.org/3/ca6030en/ca6030en.pdf> [3/3/21]
  4. Love Food Hate Waste (2021). A-Z of Food Storage [online] available from <https://lovefoodhatewaste.com/article/food-storage-a-z?_ga=2.262763660.147349770.1617181429-261769397.1617181429> [31/3/21]
  5. Too Good to Go (2020). Save Food, Save the Planet [online] available from https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb?utm_medium=Search&utm_source=Google&utm_campaign=UK_B2C_Paid_Marketing_Search_Google_Brand&gclid=Cj0KCQiAgomBBhDXARIsAFNyUqMJ6aH9U_7_csI_6pf05nWVVY62XyxV_Oj3QFs65IpOTlyq_kPmeKUaAijCEALw_wcB
  6. Olio (2021). The Number One Sharing App [online] available from https://olioex.com/ [3/3/21]
  7. Olio (2021). Become a Food Waste Hero [online] available from <https://olioex.com/get-involved/volunteer/food-waste-heroes/> [3/3/21]

 

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