The scandalous amount of food we waste!
Back in March, the BBC contacted us for comment on the shocking amount of food that is wasted within the UK. In a world with nearly a billion malnourished people, it’s incredibly hard to comprehend why 18 to 20 million tons of food is wasted in the UK every year. The amount of wasted food is enough to adequately feed each one of these malnourished individuals. But food is continually being wasted by households, food service businesses, manufacturers and retailers.
But who exactly is responsible for discarding the highest quantity of food? According to an estimate given by WRAP, the highest level of food wastage is from consumers who are estimated to discard a horrifying 8.3 million tons of food every year! Retailers on the other hand are responsible for 1.6 million tons of wastage per year and food manufacturers waste around 4.1 million tons! Restaurants and other groups are reported to waste more than 6 million tons of food.
The water used for irrigation to grow surplus food (which will eventually be wasted), is enough to fulfil the domestic needs of 9 billion people! Yes, you read it correctly; 9 billion people! This means that if something isn’t done about food wastage, the UK will be utilising its resources on wastage.
In the UK alone, it’s reported that 20 to 40% of fruit and vegetables are not accepted in shops by major retailers because they do not meet the strict cosmetic standards. Foods such as fish are sometimes thrown back into the North Atlantic and North Sea, simply because they’re not considered the proper size, shape or species.
Food wastage has found its way in schools too. Research shows that 24 to 35% of school lunches are thrown in the bin! Households alone waste around 20% of the food they buy. Some of the food is discarded because it has reached the expiry date before it is consumed.
Retailers are not obligated to report the amount of food which is discarded. There is no law that requires them to report on food wastage, so keeping track of the amount of food that’s eventually discarded can be somewhat of a challenge. The UK Government has recognised that a lot more needs to be done in order to reduce the amount of food that is wasted every year.
Another shocking revelation on food wastage is the fact that the average UK household wastes food worth circa £60 a month, which is nearly the amount an average family spends on groceries per week!