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Shocking food waste

Sara Spary
foodwaste blog 300x225 Shocking food waste

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A report released this week by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Waste Not, Want Not has found that as much as half of all food produced in the world is never eaten, but thrown away.

This is a shocking statistic, particularly in light of the fact that there are 925 million people still hungry in the world. Globally, we produce around four billion tonnes of food per year, but half of this is discarded.

In Europe, it is estimated that we bin half of the food that we buy, a habit that contributes greatly to the overall statistic. But before this food even ends up on our dinner plates, it has already gone through a great journey of selection. Our vegetables have been checked for shape, size and appearance and many of them – up to 30% – don’t make the cut, because they do not live up to the demands of consumers, who want them to be exactly the right shape, colour and size.

Global hunger continues to be a huge issue that needs to be tackled, and clearly this level of food waste is at odds with finding a solution. But hunger is closer to home than you might think and it’s not a problem exclusive to countries outside of the EU.

Food waste charity FareShare says that hunger is a growing problem in the UK. It estimates that 13.2 million people continue to live in poverty, with 5.8 million people living in deep poverty, which means that they struggle to afford everyday essentials like food.

The charity, which redistributes edible food wasted by food companies to 700 charities in the UK, says that it has seen a definite increase in requests for food over the past year, an indication that food poverty in the UK is a growing issue.

It says the organisations that it supports have seen an increase in the demand for food and that these charities fear demand will only increase in the future.

The scale of food waste in the UK is staggering and a guided tour through one of one FareShare’s depots across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales could take you past hundreds of curry sauces, pallets stacked high with fruit juices and cereals and into vast fridges stacked with meats, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits.

The charity estimates that if just 1% of surplus food in the UK was donated rather than thrown away, it could provide an additional 70 million meals to those who most need it.

CEO Lindsay Boswell, said that in distributing surplus foods to charities, FareShare is helping to turn the “shameful problem” of food waste into a “positive solution”.

It is estimated that Londoners alone throw away around 540,000 tonnes of food and drink that could have been eaten, which is not only wasteful, but can cost families around £50 a month.

For tips on what to do with leftovers, and how to reduce waste, visit: Love Food Hate Waste.

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  • Marshmallowmann

    Not in my country. The supermarkets give the stuff that is almost off to charity for free. Yes. Completely free. That is how we feed the poor without putting even more pressure on the state (hard working tax payers) and the supermarket chains actually SAVE money for not having to dispose it.

    Don’t tell me “supermarkets would never do that” I’ve seen it and I made it happen.


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