How to stop food wasting? Start in the household
MANILA, Philippines – The reason behind the looming global problem of food wasting can literally be found inside households, a recent study of a Cornell University department said.
Food wasting refers to uneaten and thrown away food.
According to the study, Food Waste Paradox: Antecedents of Food Disposal in Low Income Households that Cook from Scratch by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and the Getulio Vargas Foundation, large amounts of food waste – especially among low-income households – can be attributed to a family’s own shopping and food habits.
The top causes of food wasting, the study said, are purchasing too much food products, preparing more than what can be eaten, improper food storage, and not consuming leftovers.
Conducted among households in two Sao Paulo areas in Brazil, it was determined that the practice that yielded the most wasted food is simply buying too much. The problem arises when these purchased products aren’t consumed adequately. They expire and are put to waste.
In addition, buying in bulk and shopping monthly – an act usually done to “save money” – actually contributes more to food wastage.
Fixing the problem
Almost two billion live near or under the poverty line. But still, according to the United Nations Development Program, almost one-third of the food produced globally is wasted.
In the Philippines, data from the Philippine Rice Research Institute show that each Filipino wastes an average of 3.29 kilograms of rice annually. (READ: PH food wastage: Think twice before wasting your meal)
Food wastage is sometimes caused by the production process itself, in which case, it is called food loss. It cannot be denied, however, that "irresponsible" food-related habits contribute to the rising global food waste. But these can easily be solved, according to the study.
"Fortunately, most of the factors that lead to food waste can be easily remedied by simple changes in food buying, preparing, and storing,” Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Gustavo Porpino said.
The study suggested strategies to reduce food wastage, including properly spacing shopping for food products and preparing the right quantity of food for the family.
It added that low-income households should be taught to efficiently cook meals, proper shopping planning strategies and food storage. If permitted, grocery stores should offer “educational sessions” wherein people can learn cooking tips and storing techniques which can “build store loyalty and help consumers waste less.”
“These techniques can have a significant impact on reducing food waste and saving money,” Porpino emphasized.
Parents often remind their children to finish their food since many are going hungry.
This is true as latest data from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN show that there are more than 700 million people suffering from hunger.
The UN’s Zero Hunger Challenge includes the prevention of food wasting. This goes to show that the simple acts of finishing the content of one’s meal plate and being self-aware about the quantity of purchased and prepared food can contribute to ending food insecurity and eventually hunger. – Rappler.com
Photo from Shutterstock.
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