Food waste is a major issue within our food system. Globally one third of all food produced by weight is lost or wasted. Food waste includes all of the lost or discarded food across all stages of the food system from farm to fork. Making it a major issue to be solved, which is why it is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal’s – with a target to reduce food waste and loss by 50% by 2030. Currently, we are not at all on track to reach this goal, with a lack of engagement from both countries and companies to measure and take action.
Food scarcity and financial waste
Globally, we do not produce enough food for everyone. The issue of food scarcity has been put under the spotlight over the last couple of years – during the Covid pandemic and more recently this year through the Ukraine war (where two of the major producers of key food staples such as wheat, corn and barley have had disrupted supply chains). As it stands, as many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 – that’s an increase of 46 million versus the previous year. So, it is an increasingly important issue to address and with a growing global population, we will need 56% more food to feed the projections for our global population in 2050.
Not only is food waste a major issue from a human perspective and a social justice issue, it is also is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions too – 8% of which are driven by food waste.
Addressing the food waste issue will not only tackle hunger and environmental impacts, but it can also help address financial waste too – making it the triple win.
Businesses successfully addressing food waste
To inspire you to consider your brand’s actions to address food waste, here are five examples of brands and businesses addressing and championing food waste issues.
- Wastelesss – offer a dynamic pricing system for on-shelf products to facilitative smart mark downs for supermarkets and retailers – reducing food waste through AI-powered pricing.
- Too Good to Go – an app which connects consumers to discount food offers from supermarkets, cafes and restaurants that have unsold surplus food.
- Oddbox – fruit and vegetable delivery service which sells farmers surplus food that will not be sold by retailers because it is ‘too odd’ or because they have an abundance of it.
- IKEA – Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer has cut their food waste by 54% across their restaurants in 32 markets since 2017. They’re the first global company to demonstrate halving their rate of food loss and waste. They also created a free Scraps cookbook, inspiring consumers to rethink their own leftovers and turn them into tasty meals.
- Fruit leather Rotterdam – a retailer that transforms leftover mango fruits into a durable leather-like material. They convert mango fibres into a vegan leather-like material, used by designers in fashion and homewares globally.
Remain mindful of food waste this Christmas
These brands and innovations are strong examples of tackling some of the issues, but the issue of food waste is also primarily caused by households and individuals. In fact 70% of UK food waste is driven from households. A fact most consumers don’t realise as our recent research with @bulbshare showed – consumer’s most associate the issue with restaurants, rather than their home. But as an issue it is a topic which they care about and want to see more done to address it.
So on a personal level, as we head into the holidays and a time of celebrating with food with friends and family, let’s remain mindful of avoiding food waste.
To help inform and inspire you before the holidays, here’s a few useful resources to help you to avoid waste and make use of leftovers…
- WRAP’s The Portion Planner to help you avoid food waste at home in the first place.
- Making sure you know how best to store your food to avoid waste and for other inspiration, check out the wasting food website
- Organise your fridge – keep on top of what’s in your fridge and use by dates, keeping those that are going out of date first at the front and visible.
- And finally, check out the Fridge Night website or app developed to help you use up your leftovers using their recipe book to make something tasty.