4 ways you too can help solve the food waste epidemic
The world produces 17% more food than it did 30 years ago, yet almost half of it never reaches our bellies, as Forbes stated. Despite the fact that we now produce more food than we can consume, which we should actually be rejoicing about, many still go hungry for days or more because they lack access to food. Irony, isn’t it?
There is so much food wasted on a daily basis that could actually help feed millions and help end global world hunger. A lot of time and resources goes into producing, processing, packaging and distributing foods that end up becoming wastes.
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While there are policies being set in place for companies in the food industry, campaigns sensitizing consumers about food expiration dates as well as tech companies developing innovations to help reduce food waste, a faster way to solve this problem is addressing consumer behavior.
By directly addressing consumer behavior we can help drastically reduce food waste. In this article, we will share just 4 simple ways, as a consumer, that you can help reduce global food waste issues
- Be a smart shopper by buying only what you need and that you are sure you can consume
Except you live on a rock and have no intention of ever coming out back, buy just what you need for a short period, especially consider the number of people eating. Why buy a basket of apples for a family of two to consume in a week? Except you are making an apple pudding. Always plan your shopping list for perishable items. In fact you can opt to buy near expired foods, for packaged food items, at an affordable price which you can consume within the expiration period. This way you save cost and help reduce the food waste epidemic the world is experiencing. Tech brands like Chowberry (READ: https://changeforsociety.com/chowberry-is-helping-low-income-families-in-nigeria-have-access-to-food-items-from-supermarkets-and-preventing-food-waste-too/ ) in Nigeria is doing an amazing job with managing food waste in supermarkets across the country.
- Learn different ways to preserve leftovers and reuse leftovers
If for some reason you cooked beyond what everyone in your home can consume, rather than throw it away, store it in a fridge or freezer, depending on what you cooked. Rewarm it the following day if need be, or you can use it to make something else. For example, if you bought a ripe banana that got too soft before the week ends, rather than throw it away, you can use it to make a smoothie or make banana cake or bread. There’s always a way to reuse foods, make Google your friend for helping you out with ideas on this.
- Learn how to to store to foods properly to increase shelf life
One of the many reasons why we experience food waste is lack of proper knowledge on how to preserve foods we buy, especially the perishable ones with short shelf lives. Some foods can be stored at room temperature and some must be refrigerated. Ensure you buy what you can use within two weeks to three weeks, for the ones you can freeze. Then for the ones that require room temperature storage buy what you can consume in a week and store properly using various food storage tools.
- Opt for plant based foods over animal based foods
Plants require very little resources to grow. With the required amount of sun, water, good soil and care edible plant (veggies and fruits) can grow. Compared to animal based products that would require a lot of resources especially producing animal feed, processing the animal for immediate consumption. Switching to a vegetarian diet, without giving up completely occasional animal based treats, can help reduce human over dependency on animal based foods. According to Faunalytics a shift from standard to vegetarian diets would have roughly the same impact as eliminating all retail and consumer level food losses.