According to data from the FAO, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted globally a year. That is approximately a third of the total food produced for human consumption. In Europe, the figures stand at 180 kg of food waste per capita per year (108 in Italy).
The European Parliament has adopted a sustainable food resolution and manifesto that will oblige countries to halve edible waste by 2020.
Our shopping baskets contain the wrong items and too many of them. We fill our fridges but do not even know how to store food correctly.
Food waste is gradually starting to be monitored, but only on a domestic level. Four out of five consumers no longer throw out items that are past their expiry date without first taking a closer look and trying them to see if the recommendation to dispose of them by a certain date is valid or not.
The Refettorio Ambrosiano (Ambrosian Refectory) has been set up in the former Teatro Greco building in the neighbourhood of the same name on the outskirts of Milan. It is a soup kitchen with room for 96 diners where a team of 40 chefs led by Massimo Bottura cook with food recycled from EXPO 2015.
ASDA has launched a campaign to sell ‘misshapen’ fruit and veg through its network of supermarkets; these are products that would formerly have been thrown away. The initiative is called Beautiful on the Inside and aims to raise greater awareness about food waste among UK consumers.
A lot of food is wasted before it even reaches our supermarket shelves. Research by Think.Eat.Save has shown that over 40% of fruit and veg produced in Kenya (such as green beans grown for export) is destroyed simply because it does not meet the strict cosmetic standards required by European distribution.
In France, Intermarché has launched a similar initiative throughout its 1,800 sale points. ‘Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables’ celebrates the grotesque and ridiculous shapes of fruit and vegetables shot by famous photographer Patrice de Villiers. The campaign explains that this fruit is still good for us and is just as tasty as the ‘normal’ version, but costs 30% less. A total of 1.2 tonnes of ‘inglorious’ fruit and veg were sold in each store during the first two days of the campaign.
Sainsbury's has launched a website to help consumers use up leftover food by sharing recipes. Consumers can insert a detailed list of the ingredients they have available and receive recipe suggestions in response. The website also calculates how much food has been saved, both in weight and monetary value.
Love Food Hate Waste is an initiative launched by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), a British government-funded charity. It collaborates with various retailers in the United Kingdom. It is interesting to see how Tesco and The Cooperative (fifth largest UK retailer) have included storage advice from the LFHW website on their fruit and veg packaging.