Food waste: figures, reasons and solutions

Today is the second International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste as declared by the UN. It is a chance to reflect on the causes of food waste and on any tricks for all of us to use for waste-free cooking.

Spreco alimentare

This Day has been invented to raise awareness among citizens and institutions about the key role of what is one of the most important challenges for promoting a sustainable economic system. In fact, combating food waste is closely linked to sustainability – environmental, economic and social – because it is associated with better use of natural resources, fair distribution of food and water, as well as proper waste disposal and the issue of the circular economy. Furthermore, it is linked to achieving various Sustainable Development Goals from the UN’s 2030 Agenda, first and foremost, Goal 2 - “Zero Hunger”.

Which foods are wasted most often and why?
According to the report from the Waste Watcher International Observatory - University of Bologna - Last Minute Market using Ipsos data, 46% of Italian families waste food because they forget they bought it, leaving it to expire or perish. Among the foods that most often end up in the waste bin, in first place we find fresh fruit (37%) followed by vegetables (28%), garlic, onions and tubers (25%), salad and fresh bread (21%). This squandering of resources has significant environmental, social and economic impacts and it is up to each of us to adopt responsible shopping and consumer habits, at the supermarket and in the kitchen.

How do you reduce food waste?
There are various ways to cut the amount of food that ends up being thrown away. Let’s have a look at a few:

• Buy fresh and long-life products based on when you will eat them
• Organise products in the fridge by their expiry date
• Buy small amounts
• Make a shopping list based on a weekly menu
• Eat foods that expired a short time ago if they are still good
• Freeze foods that you think you cannot eat right away
• Keep and eat leftovers

How do you reuse potato scraps in the kitchen?
Just like for many other foods, potato scraps can also be reused in many different ways. You can use the peels to make incredibly delicious dishes; check them out in our article ‘Potato peels: 4 ways to stop wasting them’. Even cooking water can be used for various purposes, from killing weeds to making pizza, find out how in ‘Potato cooking water: 5 unexpected uses’.

Waste Watcher International Observatory - University of Bologna - Last Minute Market using Ipsos data

Image: Canva

 

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