What’s Going On Here?

An area larger than China is used to grow food that is never eaten, and the average UK family throws away £730 of unused food a year. That’s why the fact that already over 3.4 million people around the world signed up to anti-food-waste apps made us smile this week and further shows that eco-conscious consumerism is on the rise.  

What Does This Mean?

Earlier this month we wrote about the amount of food wasted in UK’s supermarkets and how important it is to incentivise food waste reduction. However, more than 50% of food waste takes place in our homes. So basically, we are half the problem – that’s bad, but also means we can be half the solution.

We all know that a lot of small acts can end up making a big difference, so lettuce celebrate (sorry for the pun) the growing public consciousness around the issue and the many creative ways to tackle food waste like those mobile applications which seem to sprout like weeds. Sharing really is caring and in this case for others as well as the planet.

Among the most successful apps is Olio, a free sharing app that has experienced a fivefold increase in listings last year and the CEO and co-founder Tessa Clarke is optimistic that this “stratospheric growth” is continuing into 2021 just like their slogan “share more, waste less” suggest.

Too Good To Go is the world’s largest B2C marketplace for surplus food and with the help of their 34.9 million users has managed to save 66.2 million meals since 2016.

Hubbub has created more than 100 so called “community fridges” in the past five years and hopes to double this number by the end of this year. Here, local residents can share and access surplus food and donations from local food businesses through a community fridge.

Obviously, there are many more great apps but since most of them seem to be quite community specific we suggest you check which app is most popular where you live if you decide to get involved.

Why Should We Care? 

For years, academics and campaigners have looked at food as a way to further engage with the public about climate change and warned us that the amount of food we can obtain from each patch of land will change – in some cooler areas, it will increase – but on average, it will decrease.

According to Tim Gore from Oxfam’s Grow campaign, “the main way that most people will experience climate change is through the impact on food: the food they eat, the price they pay for it, and the availability and choice they have.”

On top of that the number of extreme weather events, ranging from droughts to flooding and storms, can further destroy or decrease the size of a crop and we’re likely to suffer major food shortages in the future if we don’t act now. 

Since all the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be fed on less than a quarter of the wasted food in the US, UK and Europe, reducing the amount of wasted food hast great potential to eliminate hunger and is also one of the most effective ways to tackle the global climate crisis.

However, despite the success of those apps UK managing director of Too Good To Go Paschalis Loucaides noted that it’s hard to move the needle in the huge scale of food waste and admits that they’ve “hardly scratched the surface.” Nevertheless, exploring technological solutions for food waste is definitely helpful and apps connecting all different kinds of sectors are definitely needed and could be an important part of closing the gap between abundance and need until the larger system is fixed.

Be Curious!

As (almost) always reducing is the way to go, that’s why we’ve collected the following tips and resources for you:

 ????️ If you’re not doing it already, start planning your meals, measure out quantities carefully, refrigerate or freeze your leftovers and don’t forget about them.

????️ And while we’re at it, make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature, so your food lasts longer.

???? Then of course, you’ve probably guessed it already, sign up to anti-food-waste apps to share any surplus food you might have and help others avoid food waste too. 

???? Find out what difference changing your diet could make with BBC Future’s Foodprint Calculator and find ways to reduce it.

????️ Raise awareness in your local community or online, here WRAP offers a thon of advice and resources to help you make a difference and #StopTheWaste.

???? Support communities and groups such as Feedback or Friends of the Earth either financially or through the many other offered ways to participate and promote their campaigns.

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