How to raise awareness for food waste

How To Raise Awareness for Food Waste?

Food waste is a global issue and is becoming a sticking point for many. 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?

It has been estimated that 32% of food produced in the world 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 in relation to the food production chain. There are those who believe that we have an endless supply of produce 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, they need to understand the problem of food waste. There are many causes of food waste that lie between the supplier and the retailer2 as well as the consumer and so, every single person or entity that lies within this has to understand the impact of food waste in order to make the required changes to address the issue.

Changing how we think about food waste.

In order to change the thought processes of future generations, it will have to be introduced in schools. 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.

Bagged Salads Food Waste
Current food growing, manufacturing, and distribution results in 50% of food is 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 clearly 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 raising visibility helps 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 big 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. And for those who have greater knowledge and understanding of the food waste issue then now is the time to share it. Sharing knowledge about the impact that global food waste has 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 important 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% in order to feed the 9 billion people on earth1. This is an alarming figure 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. 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, the government understands how to raise awareness for food waste. They just need to appropriately assess the severity of the problem.

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 huge 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 all need to work together in dealing with the global food waste problem. If we all play a part, only then will we begin to see a difference in the amount of food that we 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
Photo by Elke Karin Lugert on Unsplash
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