Why cutting food waste has never been more important
Stop Food Waste Day has an added poignancy this year. Not only has the conflict raging in Ukraine thrown food supplies into disarray, but it has shed new light on the wider issues of food security and food poverty around the world.
If you disrupt a globalised supply chain, you will get knock on impacts. If Ukrainians can’t export grain this summer, Egyptians and Nigerians could go without bread. It’s not surprising that leaders everywhere have been scrambling to better prepare themselves for what the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has called an impending crisis.
But at least in the West, we could soften the blow simply by reducing waste. As it stands, we throw away 40 per cent of all fruit and veg we buy. This can’t be right, and stopping it wouldn’t just ensure more supply for those in need. It would help the UK and its neighbours deal with the cost-of-living squeezes on their own doorsteps by enabling us to do more with less.
So ahead of Stop Food Waste Day on the 27th April, DASH is collaborating with brands including Olio, Oddbox, Rubies in the Rubble, ChicP, Flawsome and ToastAle. Each day leading up to the 27th, the different teams will take turns to publish a video to their platforms with a tip for preventing food waste and raising awareness of the issue. (My recommendation if you’re wondering: Use leftover vegetable peelings to make tasty crisps.)
It’s this education which remains our most powerful tool to solve social issues. A few years ago, when tobacco taxes sent the average price of cigarettes soaring, the percentage of UK smokers barely shifted. Tactics to change consumer behaviour need to be accompanied by a reliable information campaign. Why did smoking numbers really drop? Education. From accurate advertising on packaging, to TV campaigns and better education in schools on the dangers of smoking, when we understand the issue at hand, we are more likely to make better decisions. The same goes for food waste. Supermarkets selling cheaper ranges of wonky fruit and veg is brilliant, but we can go further. There needs to be a collaborative effort to educate the public on reducing food waste, from the government, parents, retailers and indeed, producers.
This year, helping people make the small changes which can have a serious impact on the wider food picture is more important than ever before.