From farm to plate, we waste between 30-50 percent of the food we produce. Food that could be used to feed 3 billion people.
Hugh’s War on Waste on BBC One is giving much needed attention to the issue of food waste. On the surface it looks like a no brainer. Why would we discard perfectly good food while some people are going hungry? Why are we effectively throwing money in our kitchen bins (estimated at around £60 a week)?
We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten. This, of course, comes at a high environmental impact the planet could certainly do without.
From leftover crops and crazy supermarket cosmetic standards to our own consumer waste, this is a problem that needs addressing on many levels.
This week’s episode of Hugh’s War on Waste saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visiting Tattersett’s Farm in Norfolk where 20 tonnes of parsnips a week were going to waste for not meeting Morrison’s cosmetic standards. Too short, too thin, too fat, too ugly or even not wonky enough! Have we grown so disconnected with our food that we need “perfect” produce? From the seasoned allotment owner to the casual home vegetable grower, we all know that perfect vegetables are more the exception than the norm.
But the point is that it does not matter. It all tastes the same! Last year’s Intermarché (France’s third largest supermarket chain) launched a very visual campaign against food waste: “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” highlighting the plight of non-calibrated, imperfect fruit and vegetables.
Another shocking and very disturbing fact from this week’s episode was that at least a million chickens are wasted at KFC every year. Imagine what this adds up to if you look at the fast food business as a whole? Also our obsession and misunderstanding of expiry dates means that we throw away a lot of food that can still be eaten.
Hugh’s War on Waste is a wake up call that something HAS to change. Here is a round up of petitions and pledges you can sign up to, as well as websites and resources to help you waste less. Get involved, sign up and share with your friends and family. Make sure you tune in on Monday for Episode 2. Together we can make a difference #wastenot
Olio – a free app which connects neighbours with each other and local shops so that surplus food can be shared