Consumer food waste in the EU totals a staggering 123 kg (271 lb) per person per year, according to the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The report by the centre’s scientists goes on to say that 80% of that waste is avoidable.
it will come as no surprise to find that the UK is the worst culprit “wasting the equivalent in weight of one can of beans per person per day, whilst Romania had the best record, wasting an amount corresponding to one apple per person per day”.
Cutting down on food waste depends on us all.
Food retailers need to start thinking about selling food in manageable sizes. We don’t want to see a move to American pack sizes, selling a gallon of milk or juice, or a packet of crackers the size of two large Cornflake boxes. In a society where there are more and more one-person households, packaging should be getting smaller, rather than larger.
We all need to be better at buying what we need and will actually use, not finding ourselves encouraged to fill the trolley with excess food.
And what do we do about restaurants?
I have seen many comments on AberdeenDining.co.uk over the years complaining about restaurants not heaping enough food on plates. It seems that some diners believe that quantity is most important. Restaurants seem to be scared not to supply excess food on your plate, for fear of upsetting diners who come in for a “good feed”.
One particular comment I remember was from a person who dined at one of Aberdeen’s top restaurants and complained that they had to stop for chips on the way home because they were still hungry!
I suspect the trend to pile our plates high comes from the spread of American culture. The gargantuan portions served in the USA are legendary and we now regularly choose a menu item that suits us both and order it “to share”, because we hate seeing precious food going to waste. Judging from the willingness to bring two plates and two sets of cutlery, we are not alone.
So, let’s hear your thoughts:
- How do you reduce the amount of food waste in your home?
- What can food retailers do to help reduce domestic food waste?
- What can we do to reduce food waste in our restaurants?
- Do restaurants serve too much food?
- Would you feel cheated if you left a restaurant without feeling full?