Think, Eat, Save - reduce your carbon footprint
- By Hannah Mahony -
- Jan 23, 2013
Did you know that about one third of the world’s food produced (worth around $1 trillion), gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems?
Run in conjunction with the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Initiative – new campaign ‘Think, Eat, Save’ in support of the SAVE FOOD Initiative, specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.
According to the Food Agriculture Organization, roughly 95 per cent of food loss and waste in developing countries are unintentional losses at early stages of the food supply chain due to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques; storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions; infrastructure; packaging and marketing systems.
“In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“Aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilizers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted – not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away,” he added. “To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need a transformation in the way we produce and consume our natural resources.”
So what can be done to tackle this waste at a basic level? According to Think, Eat, Save – there’s already plenty that consumers, and the retailer industry can do to aid the prevention of such a huge loss:
- Shop Smart: Plan meals, use shopping lists, avoid impulse buys and don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need.
- Buy Funny Fruit: Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or colour are deemed not “right”. Buying these perfectly good fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
- Understand Expiry Dates: “Best-before” dates are generally manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after these dates. The important date is “use by” – eat food by that date or check if you can freeze it.
- Zero Down Your Fridge: Websites such as the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)’s Love Food Hate Waste can help consumers get creative with recipes to use up anything that might go bad soon.
- Other actions include: freezing food; following storage guidance to keep food at its best, requesting smaller portions at restaurants; eating leftovers – whether home-cooked, from restaurants or takeaway; composting food; and donating spare food to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
Retailers and the Hospitality Industry
- Retailers can carry out waste audits and product loss analysis for high-waste areas, work with their suppliers to reduce waste, offer discounts for near-expiration items, redesign product displays with less excess, standardize labelling and increase food donations, among other actions.
- Restaurants, pubs and hotels can limit menu choices and introduce flexible portioning, carry out waste audits and create staff engagement programmes, among many other measures.
- Supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, companies, cities and countries will be able to use the website to pledge to measure the food they waste and put in place targets to reduce it.
For more information on the campaign, head over to the Think, Eat, Save website.