Like the United States, the UK is responsible for wasting a lot of food. The conundrum of food waste persists, despite the fact that there is presently enough food on the planet to feed 10 billion people. And yet, 795 million go to bed hungry each evening.
It seems unfathomable at times to consider that even though enough food is presently produced on the planet to feed 10 billion people, first-world countries such as the United States waste approximately 40% of edible portions, allowing 795 million people to go to bed hungry worldwide. The UK is a major offender, as well, and this was revealed in a study conducted by the charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
WRAP discovered that roughly 400 million meals are wasted each year in the UK. This means that out of 270,000 metric tons of food that could have been consumed, companies and consumers redistribute a measly 18% to charities and food banks. However, the charity also concluded that it is possible to prevent more than half of all food waste in the UK.
The Guardian reports that as part of the study, WRAP researched how most waste occurs in manufacturing and grocery stores. It was unearthed that out of 11 manufacturing sub-sectors, five are the worst offenders. Those are dairy, meat and fish, shelf-stable foods, vegetable and fruit processing, and bakery and cream products. Combined, those sub-sectors account for close to 80% of all “avoidable food waste in manufacturing.”
Commenting on the findings, WRAP director Dr. Richard Swannell stated:
“Through a combination of prevention, redistribution to people and diversion to animal feed, the grocery supply chain could, in the next 10 years, almost halve its avoidable food waste from 2009, when we first started work in this area.”
Once again, consumers are being called to re-think the amount of food they purchase, as much of what is thrown away tends to be forgotten leftovers or neglected produce. In contrast with WRAP’s findings, the UK charity FareShare believes more food can be given to food banks and other organization for the hungry. Reportedly, it is possible for up to 400,000 metric tons of food to be repurposed or donated.
Though there are many individuals and organizations working to raise awareness about food waste and factors that contribute to the conundrum, WRAP is one of the more involved. According to Inhabitat, the charity is behind the Courtauld Commitment 2025, which calls upon food companies and consumers to pay attention to their portions and shopping habits to reduce food waste. The goal of the organization is to reduce food waste in the UK by 20%. Is it possible? We think so. However, it’s important activist like yourself share articles such as this one to educate the masses.
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