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The Social Functions Of Food Food Wastage Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1889 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Every night, one in seven people will go to bed hungry all over the world; one out of four children are underweight in developing countries. In 21 century, food shortage is still a serious problem that have not solved. 925 millions people are suffering from hungry, 98% of these people are living in developing countries. There are numerous reasons leading to the food shortage issue. For example: In East Asia, the reason of food shortage is the huge population, China and India have the most population in the world, but have less grain yield; in Africa, the major reason is Natural Disasters, such as drought. But these problems are irresistible, another important reason is food waste, according to the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), Industrialized and developing countries are wasting roughly the same amounts of food, respectively 670 million and 630 million tons, but for different reasons. In developing countries, major food losses occur at various stages of production: harvesting, post-harvest and processing. This is mainly due to poor infrastructure and outdated technology. In industrial countries, food waste is too often the result of retailers and consumers throwing away perfectly edible food in the trash bin. In Europe and North America, every consumer consumer wastes between 95 and 115 kg of food annually. There are several types of food waste in the food supply chain – agricultural production, postharvest handling and storage, processing, distribution, consumption. The following parts will talk about how to decrease the waste in distribution and consumption stages,

The above map shows that most of countries which are undernourished rate above 20% are in South Africa, such as Angola, Chad; and the countries which are between 10%-34% are in East Asia, such as India, China, Philippines; most of countries which are below 5% are in North America, Europe, and Oceania.

There are many things could lead to food waste. Firstly, with the rapid development of society, people’s lifestyle is changing while the structure and organization of the family is changing. People’s attitude towards food is changing as well. Food is no more a function of hunger only. It also plays the roles for socializing, expression of feelings and so on. People’s awareness of food waste decreased while living standard increasing (Baldwin, C.J. 2009). For example, in China, over 60% people show their attitude that they would not package the leftovers when they dine in restaurants. That’s a big reason for food leftovers. No matter dining in restaurants or cooking in house, there are a lot of leftovers generated every day. For instance, the average Australian household throws away food worth $600 a year or $5 billion a year nationally (Zall, R. R 2008). In the U.S, around 40 percent of all edible food is wasted (Hall, K. D, Guo J, Dore, M, Chow, C. C 2009). A large portion of that waste is caused by consumers. The average American throws away over $40 in the form of 33 pounds of food each month. If they wasted just 5 percent less food, it would be enough to feed 4 million Americans; 20 percent less waste would feed 25 million people (Jonathan B. 2010). Besides, food waste could also be found in most of kitchens. Such as dishes that customers don’t like, poor stock management which leads to the food stuffs out of date or damaged, early cooking and so on (Dopson, L. R.2010). Chefs throw away a large quantity of food every day. In Germany, there is over 5 million tons of food waste in kitchen, and over 60 percent of the waste could be avoided and millions of life could be saved in famine areas (Williams, A.G. Audsley, E, Sandars, D. I. 2006). What’s more, marketing strategies of food suppliers also affect the food waste indirectly. The promotions and discounts they offer encourage consumers to purchase the products, even they may not suite the household’s needs (Yeshin, T. 2006), in terms of quality and quantity, more food waste is created by consumers. In addition, government also plays an important role to increase the awareness of food waste. Almost each country’s government put forward a list of educational appeals to promote healthy dining, reduce food waste and encourage people not to waste food. However, most policies are not powerful enough and only work morally (U.S Environmental Protection Agency. 2012). The UK Government is committed to “maintaining the landfill tax increases towards a floor of £80 per ton in 2014/15”, which currently stands at £56 per ton. Landfill tax has proved to be an effective mechanism for assisting in reducing the estimated 16 million tons of food and drink waste (DEFRA 2012). There is still a lot of food waste without a norm of law. And most countries do not have a completed law in food waste. The European Union is appealing that a completed law of controlling food waste should be established to reduce the food waste (Farmer, A, N, Huntington, J. R. 2008 ).

Waste affects us all. We all create waste. So here are some solutions from different part of the society to reduce food waste in today.

As we know, government must work in partnership with local government, industry, civil society, consumers and communities, to making it easy for people and businesses to do the right thing. So there is a document called: Global Food Losses and Food Waste by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, appeals every countries and governments united for cutting food waste to feed the world ¼ˆFAO, 2011).

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In the society, currently, dozens of London chefs are banding together to introduce doggy bags in an attempt to reduce waste around the capital. This is a good action because it’s lunched from chefs who are the main force in the food and beverage industry, and it will be the useful measure to awaken people’s environmental awareness and help to reduce food waste. Tom Tanner of the SRA reckons that the initiative could cut down the amount of food waste by at least 20% in every participating restaurant (Vijayaraghavan. 2011).

In Europe, there has a European week for waste reduction, it for European organizations, business and citizens during the week to learn how to reduce food waste in everyday and also save the money, and it is a way to encourage changes in the behavior of Europeans in they are life, for example, to influence they are consumption and production. This action is to raise awareness about food waste reduction strategies around European Union and its Member States, and also to promote sustainable actions across Europe, to established people environmental awareness, and gives some tips for reducing food waste: Buy smart; store food in the right way; cook smart (EWWR, 2012).

As a consumer, people can do a lot of things to fight food waste. For examples, planning, make a shopping list, sharing food with neighbors, cooking of leftovers are good tools to against food waste. And the most important is to buy only what you actually need – and use what you have bought (Juul, S. 2012).

As a retailer you also can take several great deals against food waste. For example, the British retail chain Tesco started selling last minute food and give a large discounts. As a retailer, they also can get in contact with a relief station or a refugee center nearby and donate good surplus food. Good food can help the people in need and also can avoided food waste (Juul, S. 2012).

There are restaurants and canteens, contribute to large amounts of food waste, both in private and public sector. Today, there are many canteens and restaurants in Denmark are already fighting food waste. Some have introduced the smaller sizes plates, and some canteens also sell leftovers at cheaper prizes. Some restaurant has even introduced fines for wasting buffet food (Juul, S. 2012). To establish people’s environmental awareness is more necessary, it’s not only for this generation, and also for the next generation.

This study has compiled and analyzed a magnitude of data and reports on food waste. Waste levels and waste volumes in each step of the food supply chain were estimated. Causes of and possible ways to prevent food waste in each area of the food consumption were reported. The above methods we talk about are the three key methods, government has the power and the responsibility to solve this problem, they should restrict and guide the residents’ behavior and awareness. The tourism industry also need to do it well, control the daily food waste to reduce the impact on global food shortage. The individuals are also important in this campaign, if everyone join to reduce the food waste, then the outcome will be obvious.


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