Quoting the document in the PDF link below:
- “The results of the study suggest that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost.”
- “The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities.”
- “The causes of food losses and waste in medium/high-income countries mainly relate to consumer behaviour as well as to a lack of coordination between different actors in the supply chain. Farmer-buyer sales agreements may contribute to quantities of farm crops being wasted. Food can be wasted due to quality standards, which reject food items not perfect in shape or appearance. At the consumer level, insufficient purchase planning and expiring ‘best-before-dates’ also cause large amounts of waste, in combination with the careless attitude of those consumers who can afford to waste food.”
That all being said you need to take a hard look at what is being defined as waste. The word “waste” implies that there’s something that can and should be done about it. This pretty much ignores that there are reasons for things the way they are. Consider the loaded language “careless attitude”. Just as an example, if someone is a manager, working 80 hours a week, feeding three kids in a one-parent family, there isn’t a lot of time to “sweat the small stuff”. Say that manager has one hour of personal time in the evening, after the kids are in bed. Is it really appropriate to spend 5 minutes of that time packing dinner leftovers in airtight containers? And then spend more minutes, in the next days, fishing around in the fridge to see what’s still usable, and how that can be worked into a meal? All that maybe to save only a couple dollar’s worth of food? The manager’s time is at a premium: doing their work and taking care of their kids are more important than saving a few leftovers.
Is food treated casually? Sure. But is there some magic and economical way that waste could largely be eliminated — without major adverse effects to other things? It’s very unlikely. There’s a difference between cleaning your plate, and rearranging your life to reduce a trivial amount of food wastage.
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