Through instantaneous rates of change in the modern world, our food habits and diets have changed along with our demand for food.
With increasing user demands, there is an inherent need for change in the minds of many when it comes to combating food waste both in what we eat and what we purchase as “It’s estimated that around 60% of food waste comes from the home within the UK – with the other 40% being divided out between business and the hospitality industry.”
In a recent study by Business Waste UK, it was found that “While there are many provisions in place to reduce food waste, the UK produces the highest amount of food waste in Europe. Over ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste. The UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year – even though 8.4 million people in the UK are in food poverty.”
Businesses and organisations are working together to combat food waste, with many retailers such as Co-Op scrapping yoghourt use by dates in order to combat the internal rise in food waste. In a recent interview with the BBC, Nick Cornwall, head of food technical at Co-Op said “Controlling food waste is not only beneficial for managing household budgets, it also has an environmental benefit and will ultimately help reduce carbon emissions".
As progress increases, so too does our awareness on food waste, with retail giant Morrisons, removing ‘use by dates’ on milk in order to bid farewell to unnecessary wastage. It was revealed by Wrap UK that “Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year”.
In order to gain understanding in food waste, Lancaster PHD student, Miranda Burke, told HOP that through her research paper in reducing food waste within the supply chain, it has allowed her to gather new insight in how we can handle both our food and food waste in a positive light.
Miranda explained that “there is a lot that we can do to combat food waste but the most important factor is to plan what we eat and to plan our meals for us and our families….in doing so, it avoids buying excess food. Alongside this, it also encourages nutritional eating because it allows us to gather an understanding of where we’ll be getting our micronutrients from which will allow us to develop better eating habits as a nation.”
To create an understanding on food waste, Miranda told HOP that “Through community projects such as community composting, it can bring people together as it gives everyone an opportunity to communicate and learn from each other and the environment. It's a great way for the wider public to gain understanding of where their food is going and what the food can produce past its waste point.”
In collective collaboration, households, businesses and supermarkets can eradicate profligate habits and work towards maintaining stable food supplies both within the home and society and in doing so, removing the food waste footprint.