Food waste has become a complex phenomenon attracting the attention of scientists, consumers and activists alike. The fact that emphasis is given to increasing agricultural produce and then a third of all the food produced ends up as waste is being termed as a global paradox.
Lack of appropriate planning
One of the top contributors to food wastage is inappropriate planning on the part of the consumer. Sometimes people buy lots of food without appropriate planning. The hectic lifestyle often leads to food wastage as giving necessary time to cooking is an issue.
Purchase and preparation of too much food
Most of the time, food is wasted because of purchasing or preparing too much of it. If one purchases or prepares too much food as compared to what is needed, then it is obvious that the excess food on the plate will be waste.
Errors in industrial processing and keeping up with food safety policies
Another big driving factor for food wastage is the protocol on food safety. The food safety protocols give no room for error in industrial processing. Essentially such strict regulations mean that any errors during industrial processing of food would mean that all food items that don’t meet the set standards are wasted.
Managerial, financial and technical constrains
This is mainly a challenge contributing to food wastage in the developing countries. The wastage takes place because of the constraints to do with lack proper management, inadequate finances, and technical difficulties in the lines of harvesting methods, storage and cooling infrastructure in adverse weather conditions, processing, packaging, infrastructure, and marketing systems.
Over-merchandising and over-ordering in food stores and supermarkets
The over-merchandising of food items and products in retail centres, wholesale markets, and supermarkets often result in food wastage. Foodservice operations are habitually more focused on over-merchandizing in food stores and supermarkets by using beautiful and attractive displays, thereby creating the idea of abundance in an attempt to promote sales and customer satisfaction.
Balancing food production with demand
There should be efforts undertaken to balance food production with demand to reduce wastage. The first thing is to cut back on the use of natural resources in food production. In hotels, restaurants and the food service industry, risk management tools can be applied in order to curb wastage.
Bettering food harvesting, storage, processing, and distribution processes
The second strategy should be based on developing efficient technologies and production systems that better storage, harvesting, processing and the distribution processes. Redistribution can be the initial strategy for supplying or distributing more food to where there is need and reducing supply where food is in surplus.
Food waste reduction initiatives
Supermarkets, retail food outlets, big restaurants and individual consumers can all work on their own tailored and creative efforts to reduce food footprint.
Consumers to buy and prepare food with a plan
The use of meal plans in preparing food can go a long way in ending domestic food wastage. Consumers should only buy food according to their plans or in small batches to reduce the food that goes to waste due to expiration after long storage periods.
Food recycling efforts are already underway but the technologies and methods used should be improved. Starch-rich foodstuffs such as crisps, bread, biscuits and breakfast cereals can be recycled into high quality feeds for livestock.
Companies that are rethinking about food waste
Through the company’s Day-End Dough-Nation program, Panera bakery-cafes donate approximately $100 million worth of unsold bread and baked goods every year.
Around 95% of everything that Rude Food makes comes from “expired” items, blemished produce, or leftovers from salad bars and the like.
Original Unverpackt, a concept store in Berlin, is basically the grocery store of the future. Shoppers purchase everything in bulk using reusable containers — eliminating the need for packaging. And don’t get hung up on the term “bulk buying.” Customers can purchase as much or as little as they need, which can drastically cut down on food waste at home.
Darden Restaurants, the Fortune 500 restaurant giant known for brands like Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, began its Darden Harvest food rescue programme more than 10 years ago. Through the programme, restaurant employees box up food that has passed internal sell-by dates but is still perfectly fit for consumption and sends it to local hunger relief organisations.
The chain announced that its Cannock, England, store will be directly powered by tossed food waste with more waste-powered stores expected in the future. “It was the right thing to do, but also it was the right commercial thing to do,” Paul Crewe, head of sustainability at Sainsbury’s.
Canadian grocer Loblaw is doing something to change the trend of waste and instead of throwing such produce away, the grocer sells it at a discount at some of its outlets in Ontario and Quebec.
AgriDust: a concept that turns 3-D printing on its head. The brainchild of Italian designer Marina Ceccolini, AgriDust is a 100% organic 3-D printer feedstock. Around 65% of the material is made from common food waste items like coffee grounds, peanut shells, tomato husks and citrus peels. The remaining 35% is a binder made from potato starch.
Using his computer science background, Rajesh Karmani set out to create a convenient, safe and efficient online food-donation marketplace to help restaurants move surplus food to nearby soup kitchens and shelters. His startup Zero Percent has already donated 537,000 meals to more than 200 nonprofits converting what was once considered trash into wholesome nutrition for neighbors in need.
The grocers installed an anaerobic digestion system at their distribution center in Compton, California: It takes in the food and puts out biogas, providing power for the campus where the centre is located. “Anything that can’t be sold or donated comes into the system,” said Kendra Doyel, a spokesperson for Ralphs and Food 4 Less.
French grocery chain Intermarché has also made big bucks by selling “ugly” produce. The company launched a commercial and print ad series called Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables, featuring stars like “the grotesque apple,” “the ridiculous potato” and “the ugly carrot,” to encourage shoppers to see the beauty in funny-looking fruits.