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goodfoodgood is a web portal which provides information about food and ingredients to people around the world. We take the dinner conversation online to share knowledge and inspire others to care about what they eat.

Fresh in the trash

I throw away 90 kg of food,
whereas James scrapes 110 kg, Vendryana 15 kg and Sohini 80 kg – each year.
We four people waste in total almost 300 kg a year. Although this is a continental average per person, you can imagine that there are 7 billion other people with a similar amount of waste.
Or in other words:
One third of global food production is lost or wasted every year. With the amount of annually wasted food in the Western world, all starving human beings on earth could be fed – not once but three times!
In fact, food loss occurs in all phases of food supply chain: it begins even before harvesting due to pest infestations and severe weather conditions, continuing in harvest phase caused by natural forces and the use of crop harvesting machinery sorting out food not meeting the standards. But ti is mainly the  post-harvest phase when human sense for rules takes finally and food waste takes place. Economic factors like quality, appearance and food safety regulations and norms,  all this is human creation designed to imprison nature causing the main loss of proper food even before reaching the market.

Taste the Waste

The movie “Taste the waste”, launched in September 2011 in Germany by the director Valentin Thurn, is a documentary with the focus on exactly this topic. It shows how European and Northern American industry and society deal with food. After watching the movie, I had difficulties closing my mouth. I was shocked. Not about industrial food waste – that´s not a big surprise. I was surprised about all the normal people living in their little households and throwing away food because it is so easy to re-buy. They don´t use it on time or they prepare too much – luxury problems. In fact, I am not better as I noticed how much food I scrape.
I could write ten pages about my impressions of the movie, but let me sum up the for me most interesting parts:
In a French supermarket, employees are obliged to sort out proper food 6 days before the written minimum expiry date.. CAN YOU IMAGINE?  Their argument was, that they want to react to consumer´s behavior who tend to only choose goods from the back of the shelf.
They want to make life easier for customers and throw away good food because of a stupid date.
It is strange that expiry date of food products seem to adapt to the “I-am-anytime-anywhere-busy”-lifestyle of Western society. Long-life milk for example, which had a few years ago a conservation date of 18 months, has to day a best before of 1 third of that.
As the trash hill in front of the supermarkets grows and grows, a new trend has developed in some bigger cities in Europe: Dumpster-diving, where people out of their principles collect food in supermarket trashes. And they find a lot of proper packed food to eat. (For more information watch the movie “I love trash”)
Food lost his value and we try to solve this inflation of food by throwing amounts of it to the trash. I´m waiting for the bubble to burst.
But let me tell you more about German rules. There are a lot. My favourite one is the standardization of sizes of vegetables. A huge amount of them doen´t even reach the selling market because of it´s aesthetic characteristics. A potato, for example, mustn’t be too big or too large and of course marked with a blemish. Sound logical right? Because nature always sticks to rules that humans created. Of course it will stick to what we say. The criteria of German standards are not at all related to the quality of the food, but to the specifications of a market. Of course, no merchant wants to have buckled cucumbers, because they increase packaging costs. The grade biologically valuable doesn´t exist in selling market. It´s all about the look.

But as always new ways of thinking emerge from system grievances, a few innovative ways of reusing not sold food have developed. The main idea of reusing scraped food is transforming it into energy. There is, for example, a German baker using his overproduction amount of bread to heat his oven. Instead of throwing it away he saves a lot of money by reusing it as bread has the same heating value as wood.  As you see, people become creative and they have to.
Okay guys, that´s it for today, it is time for a new entry into my food waste diary.

À la prochaine,



http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ “Taste the waste”, “Die Essensvernichter” by Thurn/Kreutzberger

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