Changing culture: A solution to food waste
As the world's population grows, 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 increasing our food supply. This means developing more protein alternatives, and creating more efficient farming systems.
Although we are in dire need of innovation and change in our food system, food poverty doesn't necessarily happen because we aren't producing enough. The bigger problem is waste - and it's all too common in households and the restaurant industry.
Recent studies from the University of Arizona show household food waste accounts for $43 billion in waste annually, and adds up to 15 percent of landfill waste. A new study by the National Resources Defense Council found that the average US household 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 people and companies addressing the issue. However, changing the mindset of the public 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 can lead by example, creating a culture that refuses to waste food.
Tom Colicchio has taken a big step through co-founding the Food Policy Action Education Fund. It aims to educate the public on legislation regarding food and agriculture, and support initiatives to hold public officials accountable. Chef Pzermik Adolf is helping too: he has opened one of the first zero waste restaurants, using leftover food from his catering business Saucy by Nature in his new restaurant.
However, these steps are only tackling the tip of the iceberg. Until every chef speaks out about waste, utilises better tools to manage their inventory and instates apps such as Too Good To Go, Food Cloud, or Unsung to sell or donate their unsol food, the public might never understand the need for real action.
As Sam Kass, former White House chef and policy consultant, explained at 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 and 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