Changing culture to end food waste
As the population of the world expands, and the demand and access to meat and dairy increases, food security is a vital issue. For this reason, many organisations and individuals have been dedicated to fighting hunger and advocating for increasing our food supply by developing more protein alternatives and creating more efficient farming systems.
Although we are in dire need of innovation and change in our food system, improper distribution of food is not necessarily because we are not producing enough. A big culprit of inefficient food distribution is due to waste and the majority of waste, especially in developed nations, is from the common household and the restaurant industry.
Most recent studies from the University of Arizona, show post consumer household waste accounts for $43 billion in waste annually and adds up to 15 percent of waste that ends up in landfills. A new study by the National Resources Defense Council found that the average household in the US wastes about 400 pounds of food a year. According to WRAP ( Water Resource and Action Programme in London), the situation in the UK is not far off.
There are a number of companies, individuals, experts and, academics that are currently addressing the issue and presenting solutions. However, changing the mindset of the public and to make wasting food taboo in our society, is a bigger challenge that requires the help of chefs, restaurateurs, food icons and the community. By shining a light on the exuberance of household waste and vowing to reduce or even eliminate waste at restaurants, chefs will lead by example a culture that refuses to waste food because they understand the deep environmental, economic and social impact of waste.
Tom Colicchio has taken a big step through co-founding the Food Policy Action Education Fund, in order to educate the public on legislation regarding food and agriculture and supporting initiatives to hold public officials accountable. Chef Pzermik Adolf has opened one of the first zero waste restaurants, using leftover food from his catering business Saucy by Nature in his new restaurant by the same name.
However, these steps are only the tip of the iceberg. Until every chef, especially those with a big public presence ,speak out about waste, utilise better tools to manage their inventory and instate apps such as Too Good To Go, Food Cloud, or Unsung to sell or donate unused food in their restaurant, the public might never understand the brevity of the situation and the need for real action.
As Sam Kass, former White House chef and policy consultant, explained at the spoke The Global Food Innovation Summit in Italy, “ it should be like it used to be to throw trash on the street, it used to be normal, now we don’t do it, food waste has to be the same, where it’s just not acceptable to throw it away.” If we make food waste unthinkable, in our restaurants, in our catering companies, on our food shows, we have the power to influence a society who will make it unthinkable in their homes.
This piece was a guest post written by Judith Goldstein from SimpleOrder