Food waste is also referred to as food loss and it comes about when food is lost uneaten or discarded. The main contributing factors to food waste or food loss are many, and take place in stages such as processing, consumption, and production among others. Wastage and loss takes place at all stages of the value chain or the supply chain. Food waste is one of the contributing reasons to drought and hunger in the world; that paired with bad eating habits has seen many a people die of hunger. The amount of food waste produced on a global basis every year is more than enough to feed the almost one billion famished individuals in the planet. If people all over the world with the help of their governments, made an effort to curb food waste through food conservation, then populations world over would not go hungry during seasons of famine.
Better management of food consumption would be very much helpful when it comes to stopping food waste. For instance, if governments in developed and less developed countries use population data appropriately, they will be able to better manage food and food resources; no one would go hungry. Food waste and food loss are interrelated in that food loss contributes to food wastage (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 8). Food loss takes place whenever food items are thrown out to the garbage bin or for some reason the quality of food decreases in the course of processing i.e. prior to being placed on the shelves of convenience stores for sales.
Conventionally, food loss is an issue in less developed countries whereas food waste is a problem in developed nations like the United States. Food waste can also be defined as instances when food items make it to the very end of the food supply chins but never get consumed all the same. At the moment, about one third of the food that undergoes production for consumption by humans is wasted or lost on a global level; this food amounts to 1.3 billion tons of edibles that are non-worthy on an annual basis. Less than a quarter of this food is capable of feeding hungry individuals all over the world.
Shopping smart would be a good way to start the management of food. People ought to plan all the meals that they are going to prepare for certain periods of time and use grocery lists that would guide them; this would be helpful because it will help curb impulse buying. Impulse buying causes food waste since it makes people to buy food items that they do not need and are less likely to consume. For proper management of food, people ought to buy food items only when they have an intention of utilizing them; waiting until all perishables are used up before buying more is a good way of conserving food (Brian et. al., 12).
On a similar note, it is very much important for individuals to buy exactly what they need when it comes to food items. For instance, in the event that a given recipe suggests for one to use two carrots, it would not be good to purchase a whole bag. Buying loose produce is also good practice since this way people can acquire the exact amount of food they intend to use. For foodstuff such as grains, nuts and spices, buying from bulk bins would be a good thing since one is able to measure out exactly what he or she needs without overbuying. This is because there are differences between buying from bulk bins and buying in bulk; the latter can really bring about more waste if an individual buys more than what he or she can actually put to good use. Whats more, buying in bulk can help save a lot of money on the part of the end user.
Individuals world over ought to be realistic especially when they are living alone because there is a big difference between what an entire family can consume and what one individual can use for food. Buying the same number of fruits as a family of four is not rational unless the buyer in question truly loves apples. For people that rarely cook, it would be irrational to stock up on food that has to be prepared at home through cooking for consumption to take place. Such food includes baking supplies, beans, and dried grain.
FIFO is a management concept that stands for First In, First Out. When unpacking grains and other groceries, it is commendable to move recently bought products to the back and older products in front of the pantry. In this way, an individual is bound to utilize all of the old stuff prior to their expiration dates (Foodwise, 56).
Monitoring what one throws out is a good method of [preventing food waste. Good monitoring can be done by designating a week in which everything that is regularly thrown out is written down. This method will for instance help individuals to notice if for instance; they throw out a half a loaf of bread every seven days. Once an individual establishes what is thrown out regularly, he or she could start saving up food by means of freezing food the moment it is obtained from convenience store shelves such that it does not go stale before it is eaten.
Taking stock of food would involve noting down upcoming expiration dates on foods that an individual already has in the house, and planning meals with respect to the products that are closest to their expiration dates. What is more, keeping a list of what one has stored in the refrigerator or chest freezer and when each particular item was kept under preservation. Placing these notes on the refrigerator and chest freezers door would come in very much handy when it comes to references and using items before they are beyond their prime.
Proper food management and avoidance of food waste can also be realized through the designation of one dinner every week as a use-it-up meal. Instead of cooking a brand new meal , it would be nice if one looked around the fridge and cupboards for leftovers and other food items that may actually get overlooked (Leal et. al; 83)
Leftovers are not the best option when it comes to eating choicest meals but to avoid food wastage; they can actually do a lot of good. Brown-bagging leftovers for work or school in relation to a free packed lunch are a good way to prevent the wastage of food. In the event that eating leftovers the day after they are cooked may inconvenience someone, putting them in a refrigerator could be a good option (Foodwise, 55). All the same, it is a good thing to keep a reminder of when one stored food in the refrigerator as this would help when it comes to timely consumption.
Preserving produce is a good way to prevent food waste since all food does not have to be thrown away just because it is near expiration date. For example, soft fruit can come in handy when it comes to the making of smoothies; on a similar note, wilting vegetables can be utilized in things like soups. Juice extraction can be done with both wilting vegetables and fruits. When it comes to throwing expired food away, a good alternative would be to place that food in a compost heap that will later act as fertilizer to more food grown in farms.
On a governmental level, there should be initiatives to create cereal boards which would exercise mass storage of food in barns. That, paired with census data would make governments to know just how much food they should be releasing to cater for their populations. Governments are very much capable of storing food for times of drought or shortages because of the much revenue-based capital they are predisposed to. Creating awareness to all of a countrys citizens is also a good thing that responsible governments can do.
On the flip side, or to counter argue; perhaps global food waste and food conservation methods on a global level are not directly proportional to the hunger that comes about in different parts of the world since there are a big differences that come with geography and whether a population goes hungry or not is solely dependent on proper government initiative. This argument is a proponent for the responsibility of every country to plan food programs that would sustain its populations since there is little the WHO can do however much it may want to help.
Both individuals and governments ought to donate food that they would not be using since such food would be helpful to populations elsewhere. The World Health Organization would be a good place to donate extra food to because it is a good avenue for charitable efforts. If food is not wasted or lost, the overall effect is that food prices on convenience store shelves would improve and people would realize higher purchasing power parity. Refugees and other disadvantaged groups in places like Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel region would be predisposed to food. If individuals world over would take initiatives and watch out such that food is not wasted, no one would go hungry. Initiative starts with me and you.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Food Loss and Food Waste.
Webhttp://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/ 28 Oct 2016
Foodwise. Fast Facts on Food Waste.
Web http://www.foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/food-waste-fast-facts/. 28 Oct 2016
Brian Lipinski, Craig Hanson, James Lomax, Lisa Kitinoja, Richard Waite and Tim Searchinger.
Reducing Food Loss and Waste
Leal FilhoWalter andKovalevaMarina.Food Waste and Sustainable Food Waste Management in the Baltic Sea Region2015. Web 29 Oct 2016.http://www.springer.com/la/book/9783319109053
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