Most people know we produce enough food to feed everyone in the world, so why is it according to Oxfam that almost a billion people go to bed hungry each night? The problem is distribution. Western countries consume quantities of food that leave entire countries starving, with the average person in the west wasting 115kg of food compared to 11kg in developing countries.
The problem is obvious, so why despite this has it continued uncontrollably for decades? I think it’s down to our consumerist society. Billions of pounds of fruit and veg is wasted in production when it doesn’t meet its aesthetic standards (and there was me thinking I was the only one who had to worry about these). Although this problem is starting to be resolved, with Morrisons selling ‘Wonky Veg’ at a reduced cost, in the end, the consumer drives a consumerist society and we all need to make a change.
The most striking problem to me is lack of knowledge. A few weeks ago, my Dad saw some sprouted potatoes in our flat’s bin and was rightly shocked. My flatmate had no idea you can chop a sprout off a potato, thinking it completely reasonable to throw away almost a kilogram of them. Just this week another flatmate criticised my slightly out of date yogurt in the fridge, worrying it would contaminate her food, but after protest I kept it on my shelf and ate it yesterday, 10 days after the supposed ‘use-by’ date. Yes, it tasted perfectly fine, and no, I’m not ill today.
While I know reducing food waste to zero is somewhat unrealistic, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all be doing our bit. It doesn’t take much to educate yourself on and what foods can be frozen before they go off, and when you shouldn’t eat something, but many people just can’t be bothered. Sadly, when it comes to the health of our population and planet, ‘can’t be bothered’ just doesn’t cut it.