Food wastage refers to the decrease in the amount of food which is intended for human consumption in the subsequent stages of the food supply chain. Food wastage is inevitable throughout the food supply chain, right from the initial production stage to the final household consumption stage. Whether the decrease is accidental or intentional, the ultimate result is that there is less amount of food available for human consumption. Since hunger has become a major global issue, the need to reduce food wastage has gained increasing interest worldwide. Governments and research institutions together with producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers have come up with different ideas to counter the problem. However, it is necessary first to understand the causes of this problem.
Causes of food wastage
Causes of food wastage differ from location to location. However, there are ways in which we all contribute to food wastage including:
- Prepare food badly. We usually throw away food that has not been prepared well and that fails to have a scrumptious
- Expired food. This normally happens with processed foods that have exceeded the expiry date. We throw them away due to fear of consumption.
- Refrigerated food. We stock too much food in the fridge and end up throwing it away due to a bad smell or poor taste.
- Most times we prepare more food than we can consume thus throwing away leftovers.
- Parties and social gatherings. Too much food is prepared for such events, and in almost all cases it never ends up being wholly consumed hence becoming a waste.
- Partially used food. This refers to the leftovers which are stored but never end up being used again thus going to waste.
- Change of plans. When we change meal plans abruptly, the previously prepared food is wasted.
Some of how food wastage can be reduced globally include:
- Improved storage methods. Farmers could adopt simple, low-cost storage methods which will prevent food spoilage, therefore, reducing wastage.
- Better food date labels. Confusion of labels like “use-by,” “sell by,” and “best-before” cause people to throw away food when it is still fit for consumption. Retailers should make such labels clear.
- Redistribution of food. Too much food that cannot be consumed all at once should be redistributed to food banks to avoid wastage.
- Reduced portion sizes. Large servings of food lead to wastage as people are unable to finish their meals.
- Consumer awareness campaigns. Such campaigns educate on the simple ways in which we waste food and how that can be prevented.
- Setting food waste reduction targets. By raising awareness and setting targets for food waste reduction, people are more likely to take action towards the cause.
- Surplus food should be donated to hunger-stricken areas to reduce food wastage and feed the hungry.
Hunger is a sad situation affecting large numbers of people. Food wastage should be eliminated so as to preserve the food for consumption in later times and to help feed the hungry. With the above article, one can do that easily.