Solving The Food Waste Problem From Within The Industry

May 29, 2019 10:47 am

Of the many threats facing our current climate, the subject of food waste is one of the most significant. It’s something that most people are guilty of, and everyone from food manufacturers to consumers is responsible for millions of tonnes of wasted food that happens every year.

Solving the food waste problem is not something that’s going to be easily resolved. It’s going to take everyone from restaurant owners to individuals to make sure something can be done.

Are you as clued up about food waste as you should be? Find out more and learn what part you can play in bringing an end to food waste.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

How big is the food waste problem?

Despite widespread media coverage and growing conversations around the topic of food waste, many people are still unaware of the scale of the problem and what it means for our planet.

The impact that food waste has on the environment goes beyond the increasing amount of waste that’s clogging up our towns and cities, and means that it’s not just food being wasted, but resources that go into making it too. There is a large carbon footprint associated with food production, and the emissions that come from it contribute to a third of the greenhouse gasses that lead to climate change.

Food waste is often left in the shadows when it comes to the discussions around what’s damaging our planet. While transportation and energy use are two of the leading causes, it’s important to keep in mind that food production is actually a significant part of the problem.

What are consumers doing to end food waste?

Consumers are taking the lead when it comes to ending food waste. There are plenty of ways to cut down, which include storing food correctly, shopping smarter and making wiser choices when it comes to purchases. Individuals are trying to make change by improving their own habits, but if they’re going to succeed, then the food industry needs to make these choices possible.

Better labelling, better choices

One of the main things that can help reduce food waste is better labelling. One of the key tips to reducing food waste promoted to the public is making sure that they check the labels. This helps to make sure they know when foods are about to expire, and what the correct storage instructions are.

A smarter approach to food shopping involves individuals drawing up lists of when products use by date is, and making sure that foods are eaten in order to prevent unnecessary waste. Ocado is great for providing this information as a list given when food is ordered online. But what would also help is manufacturers also using better labelling to help make customers make more informed choices. Better food labelling will help save money and save waste, and can also solve problems related to allergies and food intolerances which can make shopping difficult for individuals.

Stronger initiatives to bring waste to an end

Businesses in the food industry have several options available to them to help reduce waste. Reducing waste doesn’t have to involve significant changes, but better processes and more socially-conscious initiatives could help make it happen, while also encouraging others to make change. Some of the ideas to consider include:

Be smarter with your food production

Do your business produce too much food that is going to waste? This is a problem that affects multiple parts of the food industry, from cafes to manufacturers. Could you be doing just as well by producing less? It’s certainly something to think about.

Avoid deals and promotions that lead to overstocking

Buy one, get one free deals and 3 for 2s can seem like a great way for businesses to make money. But when these types of offers land on fresh food or food with a short shelf life, it can not only be a waste of food, but money for shoppers too. Does your business make much profit from these sorts of deals? You might want to reconsider how you give the best deal to your customers.

Help those in need

Health and safety concerns were largely responsible for restaurants, supermarkets, etc. not offering leftover foods to those in need. The UK is experiencing a rise in the number of food banks, which could benefit from the generosity of shops and restaurants who have food left over which would normally be thrown away. Other options include giving food to the homeless, women’s shelters and other establishments that will be grateful to receive what’s on offer.

Many businesses have also joined apps where people can look up nearby restaurants and cafes to find foods which are leftover and pick them up at an affordable rate. There are apps to tackle food waste all over the world, so if you think you can help make a difference, join and start changing your habits.

Be vocal

Businesses are in a position to influence, and by being vocal about food waste, businesses could help their customers to change their habits for the better. Ending food waste involves changing culture, which can only happen when the bigger players get involved. Consider using your blog, website and social media platforms to spread the word about your efforts, and share the ways your followers can also get involved. It can be difficult for businesses to be so vocal about a cause, but doing so could help boost your company’s reputation and show to your customers that you’re taking the environment seriously.

When it comes to being more environmentally friendly, reducing food waste is one of the most effective things you can do. With some parts of the world starving compared to those who have the luxury of wasting food, it’s time to shift the balance and make sure our planet can continue to produce what’s needed. Are you ready to help tackle food waste? Make sure you sign up to play your part.

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