How to massively save on foods and drinks
Food waste is a worldwide problem that is mainly derived from the first world countries but hurt the underdeveloped ones the most. Quite often, the main country to blame for the major food waste is the United States, however, not many are aware that according to the 2017 food waste statistics, the leading country in food waste was Australia with 362 kg food waste per person per year.
An enormous amount of food is wasted on every stage of the food production and supply chain due to multiple reasons.
- On the stage of agricultural production, a lot of food is wasted due to animal death and poor harvesting.
- On the post-harvesting stage, food waste is caused due to transportation issues, insufficient storage facilities, or storing food in the wrong way.
- While processing food, there is a waste because of spillage during washing, slicing, and packaging.
- The next stage is distribution when food waste is due to the market system.
- The last stage is consumption, at this stage, there is a food waste of the food that was bought and wasted by the individuals or businesses.
The last two stages – distribution and individual consumption is the biggest contributor to food waste. When the food is placed on the shelves, it might stay there and don’t get sold for some reasons. It might be the case that a retail shop has a bigger supply than the demand is on a certain product, or in many cases individuals might not buy a certain product, for example, oranges if they do not look perfectly round and orange. Most people also overestimate the food they need to buy and at least a third of the products bought end up in the garbage. The same goes for food businesses or businesses that are offering food to their customers. In fact, such businesses have a major role in food waste reduction and waste management and they have the possibility to massively save on foods and drinks.
The restaurant industry
Not surprisingly, the restaurant industry is the first in the list, as providing foods and drinks is the main service of it. As you can imagine, restaurants are wasting a lot of food, products are wasted due to the surplus of the products, incorrect storage, while cooking, the foods that are returned from the table, or never make it to the customers. As suggested by The Guardian, reducing food waste is not good for our planets only, but can also benefit restaurants, as for every 1 pound invested in cutting the food waste, they can profit 7 pounds. To reduce food waste restaurants can take pre and post measures such as
- Offering a big variety of different portions and dishes, so that customers are able to choose the portion suitable for themselves, and do not leave extra food on the plate.
- Offering smaller plates in all you can eat and self-help restaurants. When hungry, people usually overestimate the hunger and feel they will eat more than they actually can. As a result, approximately 30 percent of the food is left on the table.
- Use imperfect products while cooking. As mentioned, many people will not buy so-called “ugly food” at the grocery store. This issue is so big, that the stores are no longer accepting such products and farmers, on the other hand, find it cheaper not to touch such products and they end up rotting on the ground. While these products might not look perfect from the outside, but they are perfectly fine, and can be used in food. The customers are not able to see how the products look like, farmers can sell more, and the food waste is reduced – it is a win win win strategy.
- However, these three strategies will not reduce the food waste 100 percent. Therefore, post-measures are needed as well. The best things restaurants can do to deal with the food left is to donate it to the local charities with the little extra money for transportation.
Casinos and entertaining centres
The other places, where you can come across to the food and drinks in casinos and entertaining centres where the food and drinks are often offered for free to entertain customers and encourage them to spend more time there. Probably, you would not expect to see casinos in the list, however, the food and drinks waste is massive in such facilities. Just imagine, you want to play poker or blackjack for money in the casino. Once you are at the table you will be offered free meals and drinks once in a while. Casinos are generous when it comes to is, so that you will not be bothered by anything and will not think about going home early. Most of the foods and drinks intended for a day ends up being a waste. In fact, many casinos in the United States have started dealing with food waste by themselves. Some of the ways they are trying to practice includes:
- Offering smaller vessels and plates for food. Food in Casinos are not offered as the main service, it is offered for free as an additional treat, hence it is perfectly fine to have the smaller portions instead of the big plates.
- Implement food waste management strategy that includes donating non-perishable minibar snacks and meals that have not been served on the banquet to the organisations in need.
- Working with the chefs, restaurants, and hotels to minimise the waste first place.
These tips are not just for the restaurants or casinos and entertaining or leisure facilities where foods and drinks are offered either as a main service or for free. They can be used successfully by all facilities where foods and drinks are sold, including schools, offices, hotels and etc. However, the main responsibility comes to individual consumption. Here are some tips on how you as an individual can take the lead and reduce food waste:
- Learn about your food waste, for some time observe how much groceries and other products you buy and which part of it goes into the garbage.
- Based on it prepare a list of the products you want to buy prior to going to the shop so you are not overestimating things you need and are only buying what you will actually consume.
- Do not go for grocery shopping while you are hungry, you will want to buy everything, but end up eating little.
- Start buying “ugly food” there is nothing wrong with the oranges that are not perfectly rounded.
- Do not prepare a lot of food for several days this food will most probably go into waste. Instead, cook one meal only.
- Do not empty the fridge, there are a lot of recipes you can use to prepare a delicious meal with the products that are left in the fridge.
This little tips will make it possible for you to reduce your food waste but why would you care about it at all?
Why should we take care of food waste?
Food waste is not just bad, it creates a series of serious problems that damage our world, but have the worst effects on the underdeveloped countries. Food waste causes a quarter of green gas emission created by the man. There is a big correlation between food waste and water waste, that is used for preparing and processing food. According to Forbes, food production takes 80 percent of the freshwater in the United States. Also, we must not forget the fact that while the countries like Australia, the United States, Japan, Germany, and many other developed countries are literally wasting almost half of the food they produce, people in poor countries have trouble finding enough food for daily consumption. The responsible approach by the restaurants, hotels, casinos, and facilities alike, as well as by the individuals will help reduce the food waste, water waste, and green gas emission that is damaging the earth more and more every day.