How to raise awareness for food waste

How To Raise Awareness for Food Waste?

A significant portion of the food we grow is wasted. Whether that is at the point of production or after it has reached the consumer, whatever it might be, food is being wasted. So, is now the time to find out how to raise awareness for food waste?

Food waste is a global issue and is becoming a sticking point for many. It has been estimated that 32% of food produced worldwide goes to waste3. While many significant changes have been made and initiatives introduced, it is still a problem that is rife throughout the world. We need to work together and adopt an approach that can help to take action on food waste.

So, let's look at how to raise awareness for food waste.

Education is Vital

All most every single one of us has been wasteful when it comes to food. Many of us do not think twice when we throw away food that is uneaten or left to spoil. Much of this is down to a lack of understanding concerning wasted food throughout the production chain.

Some believe that we have an endless supply of food products, and those who simply have no idea. This is where we have to begin to educate people.

In the same way, as people have been educated about wasting energy or the harmful effects of smoking, educating people to understand the food waste problem is vital.

Many causes of food waste lie between the supplier, retailer, and consumer, so every single person or entity must understand the impact of food waste to reduce food waste2.

Changing how we think about food waste.

It will have to be introduced in schools to change the thought processes of future generations. However, to make a change right here right now, it is important that all are educated about the cost, what they can do to reduce it, and how to deal with waste as well as what they can do with it.

This could include educating people about purchasing less, how they store their foods, or even how the supermarkets can pass on edible food that has passed its use-by-date.

Encouraging people to compost food scraps or turn them into soups and stocks is a simple example of raising awareness. Similarly, encouraging people only to buy what they need in the context of good food waste practices are practical steps along the journey.

Bagged Salads Food Waste
Current food growing, manufacturing, and distribution result in 50% of food wasted in developed countries (source. Institute of Mechanical Engineers, UK, 2013). Pre-packaged salads are a particularly bad offender; according to waste body WRAP in the UK, we throw away 37,000 tonnes of the stuff, 40% of what we buy or the equivalent of 178m bags (2017).

Education is pivotal in our fight to alleviate food waste. And we have a lot of education to do. As we seek to raise awareness of food waste, passing on knowledge and increasing visibility help us move collectively in the right direction.

Pass on Our Knowledge

We can all do our bit, and if we all pull together, we can make a difference. The small changes can lead to significant changes, and that is where we will begin to see results. They say that sharing is caring, and in the case of food waste, truer words have never been spoken.

We should all feel passionate about food waste prevention. And for those with greater knowledge and understanding of the food waste issue, now is the time to share it. Sharing knowledge about global food waste's impact on the environment or the economy can shock people into changing their attitudes.

Related: Check out our tips and ideas for a zero-waste kitchen

Government Intervention

Food security is an essential consideration for the government in the UK but also on an international level.

By 2050, it is believed that food production will have to double by 100% to feed the 9 billion people on earth1. This is alarming, and it could mean that even more food is wasted. As a result, the government of almost every country in the world needs to create initiatives and campaigns to help make people aware of the food waste problem and establish sustainable food systems.

We should consider individuals and businesses in this mix. While this is a form of education, it is a problem that they need to tackle with compelling advertising campaigns.

Providing hard-hitting information and tackling policy awareness can grow. The truth is that the government understands how to raise awareness about food waste. They just need to assess the severity of the surplus food problem appropriately.

Food Waste Larger Than China
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, the amount of food grown every year that is never eaten uses a landmass large than China. That's a vast amount of food. It's time to act.

An understanding of how to raise awareness for food waste is something that we all have to work at. Supermarkets, suppliers, the government, and consumers must work together to deal with the global food waste problem. If we all play a part, only then will we begin to see a difference in reducing food waste.

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1Doubling food production to feed the 9 billion: A critical perspective on a key discourse of food security in the UK, by Isobel Tomlinson, Soil Association, Policy Department, South Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NX, UK
2The causes of food waste in the supplier-retailer interface: Evidences from the UK and Spain. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 55. 648-658. 10.1016/j.resconrec.2010.09.006.
3Reducing Food Waste and Loss, World Resources Institute, by Brian Lipinski, Craig Hanson, James Lomax, Lisa Kitinoja, Richard Waite and Tim Searchinger
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