Food Tank is gearing up for Stop Food Waste Day, “an international day of action to fight food waste,” named by the foodservice company Compass Group. While food waste and loss is a serious issue—about one-third of food is lost or wasted globally—Food Tank is celebrating the work of individuals and organizations ensuring that food is nourishing people instead of going to waste.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 1.3 billion tons of food annually is lost or wasted all along the food supply chain from the farm to the plate. In wealthier countries, this often happens closer to the plate—that is, with consumers and retailers. “Raising awareness among industries, retailers, and consumers as well as finding beneficial use for food that is presently thrown away are useful measures to decrease the amount of losses and waste,” says FAO.
Many people are trying to do just that. Some target the message to the next generation, for example by writing children’s books, enlisting animated characters in PSA campaigns, and finding the fun in “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Others highlight the role chefs can play: for Stop Food Waste Day, for instance, chefs around the world will be doing cooking demonstrations in Compass cafes. “Serving 9.8 million meals daily in North America alone, the reach of our influence is huge—both inside our cafes and through our client and customer connections,” says Compass Group Vice President of Sustainability and Consumer Engagement Amy Keister. “Together we can create real and meaningful change.”
Change can happen on a smaller scale, too, including at home. Groups like the Save The Food campaign and a team of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have compiled recipes to help consumers use leftovers, cosmetically imperfect produce, and food scraps. Rethinking what’s possible with foods that often get thrown away is a great place to start, and there are many other ways individuals can reduce their food waste. Drs. Selena Ahmed and Carmen Byker Shanks of the Food and Health Lab at Montana State University suggest taking mindful actions. They say, “Food waste is everyone’s problem and calls for every one of us to be mindful in our consumption and food choices.”
Help Food Tank spread the word about food waste! Join us for the #StopFoodWasteDay Twitter Chat on April 27!