Hello everybody! Recently I’ve teamed up with the World Food Programme, in order to put focus on the massive amount of food waste produced every year. Waste is in my book always a problem but when we waste food, whilst one in nine people go hungry – we have a serious issue. Thus, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time trying to voice this problem. I believe that there are tons of neat tricks to minimise food waste, including making leftover dishes, baking and soups and so on.
However, I also think that it is highly effective to talk about why we waste; as knowing the reason for a certain tendency is often a smart way of solving it too. I personally see a problem with the unnecessarily high aesthetically bound standards we have for our produce. The problem with exclusively buying the prettiest apples or the unspotted peppers is that consumer behavior like that legitimises a sorting and selection practice – primarily based on looks. It’s a problem when half of the grown produce won’t even see the shelves before being disregarded.
It is not exclusively a problem in grocery stores though, we bring this consumer practise into our homes all the time. I see people throwing food away because of spotted peels or dried out tops, when in fact the food is completely fine and can still be eaten, no problem. But I think many people have this idea embedded within them that the look of a food item infinitely determines its quality, which is not always the case. A brown banana peel does not necessarily signal rot or decay, it can be completely fine underneath.
It seems that these global practises are hard to change, and alas, for the individual consumer they properly are. I am still convinced that knowing of this practise will help consumers make more conscious and enlightened decisions. When we buy – we vote, and that is so important to remember. It seems that the problems with this sort of waste is vanity. It is possible that buying dented fruit or spotted greens signal poverty, whilst buying the prettiest produce signals wealth and well-being. I believe that this mindset works in a rather similar manner to that of the full fridge – empty fridge concept. Consumers generally find it unsettling when looking into an empty fridge, because it signals that the individual cannot afford food, in reality it simply tells us that this person knows not to waste, and that is great.
Changing one’s mindset won’t rid the world of waste, but I strongly believe that the mindsets of many will affect the general perception of what is, and more importantly what is not, waste. Looks are not everything and actively acting against that tendency will definitely create some momentum.