Written By – Veenaa Logenthiran
Picture this. A buffet spread on the table in front of you, making your mouth water. A huge sign flashing in all its glory, shows you that it is an ‘All you can eat buffet for only RM15.’ What a steal! Eagerly, you begin to pile up your plate with spoonfuls of food – as much as you can – only because everything served looks yummy and you simply cannot choose. At the end of the line, you are struggling to carry your heavy plate yet excited to dig in.
Initially, for the first 15 mouthfuls or so, you’re in heaven, the different flavours seem to be mixing deliciously in your mouth. However, as you take your 16th mouthful, you suddenly realise that you can no longer eat anymore. Although your plate is still half full, you simply cannot bring yourself to stuff anymore food into yourself. At this point, what happens to all the food left on your plate? I guess that’s when the dustbin gets a yummy treat!
The above is an example of a scenario in which food is wasted. Food wastage is a global issue. All over the world, food wastage is a significant environmental, economical and social concern (1).
Many of us are privileged enough to have three meals a day. Not only do we have the means to buy this food, we also live in an area where food is easily obtainable. In other words, we are lucky to have both availability of food and accessibility to food. Unfortunately, what many of us do not think about is that this privilege is not extended to each and every member of the world population.
In order to completely eradicate any form of food wastage would be almost impossible. Many people believe that to reduce a significant amount of food wastage – say, by 80%, – the integration of many large industries, both agricultural and food & beverage production lines is required. While these industrial arms play a crucial role in the management of food, individuals can play a part too, in severely reducing the amount of food that is dumped each day.
How ironic it is, that in some parts of the world, there is hardly any food available to go around, whereas, in other parts of the world, tonnes and tonnes of food are wasted each week. Despite widespread food shortages, data collected has shown that around 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year is wasted. If we follow the steps above and consume only what we need to, then perhaps in the long term, a fairer distribution can be executed, thus reducing the disparity with regards to food availability in different zones of the world!
For the benefit of our planet and humanity, let us each be grateful and responsible enough to think about the wider community. By following certain simple steps, we can do our part in reducing food wastage!