Let’s Talk About Food Wastage

Strawberry

How many tomatoes did you throw away last year?  That is considered food wastage.

When you dined at a restaurant, did you leave anything on the plate?  That is considered food wastage.

Did you leave any food on the counter overnight by accident and considered it unsafe to eat the next morning?  That is considered food wastage.

I confess that I have been guilty of all of the above and more.

Food waste (aka food loss) is defined as food that has been discarded, lost or uneaten.  There are two areas where wastage can occur on what is called the food supply chain.  In low-income developing nations the wastage takes place during production; in developed nations loss happens at the consumption point. In 2011, as a global community, we wasted 1.3 billion tons of food, which equals a stunning one-third of global food production.

Dr David Suzuki estimates that the average Canadian household, discards one in four items of produce.  In monetary terms, it is like dumping $600/family into the garbage can. Think of all that food that could have been consumed by others.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today.  BBC News January 2013

23 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Food Wastage

  1. This is a sobering truth. I am guilty of food wastage too but I do TRY to be careful. It also doesn’t help when you carefully store your surplus in the freezer and then, somehow, turn off the electricity supply to said freezer. That was a disastrous day when I discovered the melted mess. Felt quite sick at the amount of decayed food that I had to deal with; all because of complete silliness on my part. Love the strawberries. I just picked some of mine this afternoon.

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    • I can just imagine the sinking feeling when you opened the freezer. What I have noticed over the last couple of years: people are more conscious of the wastage, especially with rising food prices. On a recent grocery excursion, I noticed more than one shopper using a calculating as they went down the aisles. There is also a exponential increase in city gardens sprouting up all over Vancouver. People are planting gardens in the yards rather than feeding and watering grass. We are making progress, one step at a time. As J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Little by little, one travels far.”

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    • I agree wholeheartedly. Having an abundance of food in the nearby grocery stores makes it easy to forget there is lack of food in other areas. Individual effort, when combined with other like minded individuals, can change the course of the world. The discussion is happening now! And that gives me hope that we will find a better outcome for all. Your visits and comments are so very much appreciated.

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  2. Good post, Rebecca ! I heard about these numbers and I was terrified … which proves that no matter what we do we change nothing so easy !

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    • Me duele pensar que alguien va a la cama con hambre porque no se toman el tiempo o esfuerzo para buscar mejores formas de distribuir los alimentos de manera justa. Es una tragedia. He hecho un compromiso para cambiar la manera en que veo el despilfarro. Acabo de ir a través de todos mis armarios y regaló toda la ropa que no necesitaba a la caridad. Tenemos demasiadas cosas. La felicidad no depende de lo mucho que tiene. Estoy muy contento de que hayamos conectado!

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  3. I really can truthfully say my husband and I are the best at not wasting food. We buy and cook only what we need. I can whip up a casserole out of left overs. But usually there are no left overs. Fortunately we have the same food tastes which solves a lot of problems. We lick the platter clean each day. We rarely eat out unless somebody is treating….lol

    Can you tell I feel passionately about this? I have seen too much wasted food.

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    • I love your passion on this matter! You are leading the way! I think that if we worked towards solving the food wastage problem, obesity would decrease as well. Giving thought to shopping and meal planning may be the link that fosters a healthier eating pattern!

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  4. Excellent posting.
    This subject is very complex because it also involves education and culture. Where do we learn not to waste food? Should we teach this in school? or at home?
    On the cultural aspect many people feel that “cleaning the plate” is impolite, therefore “leave something on the plate” is OK. Other cultures still today consider leaving the food on the plate wasteful, the cleaner the plate the better; we should thank to have this food.
    On the day by day it would be good to think more on smaller portion sizes and second servings instead of a large wasteful serving. I found interesting that some “all you can eat” restaurants give you overcharge if you waste food. This make a lot of sense.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly! At Christmas, I attended a buffet and found that I was loading up my plate just because I wanted to “taste” every dish that was offered. I had to stop myself because I knew that I would never finish what I had on my plate. Your idea of small portions is the key to reducing food wastage. I applaud the restaurants who overcharge. I have often thought the concept “more is less” applies here. Many of us are viewing over consumption and consumerism as things to avoid. Thank you so much for joining the discussion. I truly appreciate your thoughts on this critical issue.

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  5. Scary, scary, scary. And with the lack of rain in the food producing places of the world it is more sobering. We can learn to be more careful, so let us give it a “big try” .

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    • You once told me that during the Great Depression you ate a lot of cabbage soup! And you were happy to have that. With our grocery stores it never feels that there could possibly be a shortage!

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