For some time, I’ve been puzzled by the fact that various food items I’ve purchased in different supermarkets were missing the familiar ‘Best Before’ dates. Because we all like to check them, don’t we? Especially on milk and bread!
I only began to understand why this was happening when I read a shocking newspaper report that revealed the average British family wastes £700 of food annually – the equivalent of 10 billion meals a year!
One in three of us is a ‘High Food Waster’. Not to be confused with the Clint Eastwood western “High Plains Drifter!”
Something must be done to combat this terrible waste, not just of food but of resources. Because before we pop any food item into our shopping trolley, a vast army of people had to source, process, pack, deliver and place it on display on the supermarket shelf. Not only that, we also waste fuel driving to the supermarket to purchase stuff we don’t eat.
If you haven’t already comprehended how insane the situation is, let me give you some statistics.
Every single day more than a million loaves of bread; 920,000 bananas; 800,000 apples; and 720,000 oranges end up in domestic bins – hopefully, the ones that your local council provide you with for food recycling. Yet there are thousands of people queueing up at food banks to obtain their basic food requirements.
A breakthrough has been made in the war on waste, helped by some retailers who’ve scrapped ‘Best Before’ dates on many fresh items to encourage shoppers to decide for themselves if the item remains fresh to eat. Which makes perfect sense.
At the same time, certain restaurants are serving smaller portions of commonly thrown out food such as chips and also provide diners with doggy bags.
While these efforts reduced food wastage by 7% in three years, the Government’s waste advisers (WRAP) warns more effort is needed if the country is to reach their target of halving food waste by 2030.
So, never again say, as you finish a meal, “I’ll leave that sausage for Mister Manners”. Don’t save the sausage. Save the planet!