Wednesday, February 24, 2016
I don't very often waste food: what doesn't get used in my lunch salads goes into my Saturday soup pot. Suppers every night for the following week.
But returning from recent time away on vacation, there were a few sad items that had to be pitched: yogourt past its date, wilted Italian parsley, some leftover Swiss chard and so forth.
And coincidentally, I read yesterday two articles about food waste from opposite ends of the spectrum: people who cannot afford to waste any food at all (and so buy stuff that they know their kids will eat, which may not be healthiest possible choices for the kids); and people who think they're going to eat the stuff bought in vast quantities at Costco or other discounters, and then go out for dinner instead or decide they don't "feel" like salad, and throw it out.
So situation one is strongly related to childhood obesity. Fact is, most tiny kids will refuse a new and unfamiliar food 5-18 times before they accept it. And if mum's food budget is tight, she cannot afford to present avocado or steamed broccoli that number of times, to be thrown out, when she knows her children will readily chow down on the deep-fried chicken nuggets and fries, even though these items have much less food value (and are deliberately manufactured to be uber-palatable).
And situation two which does result in food waste if excess quantities of healthy food are purchased and then thrown out, can also be strongly related to obesity: when it's not the salad that's bought and thrown out, bur rather the giant cheesecake with servings for 24 and eating all of them within a few day divvied up among 4 people.
As my mother used to say, "Better it goes to waste than to my waist!"
Where does most food waste occur? Not by farmers, not by distributors, not at grocery stores or in restaurants but in our homes. Most of us buy more than we need, and then change our minds because we don't "feel" like eating what we bought.
I do spend a lot of money on food -- but we almost never eat out.
And wasting food on the rare occasions when we don't get around to eating it really pains me. It does!!
Food waste experts recommend shopping every day for the freshest offerings, or every two to three days: then there's less waste. People are much more likely not to waste food if they have only a small quantify of food available that they really feel in the mood to eat.
For most of us, however, other time pressures mean groceries are bought once a week or even less often: stocking up at the big box with manufactured foods.
I don't much enjoy grocery shopping and don't want to go more often than I do: but maybe I should reconsider that.