In the news this week is a report from Eurostat on the eye watering amount of food wasted in the EU each year. In total, the EU wastes 89.2 million tonnes every year and that figure is rising.
The UK is the most wasteful of the EU’s 27 member states, wasting a whopping 14.3 million tonnes each year. Next come Germany (10.3 million tonnes), the Netherlands (9.4 million tonnes), France (9 million tonnes) and Poland (8.9 million tonnes).
But WELL DONE MALTA! Malta is the least profligate country in the EU, only wasting a relatively tiny 25,000 tonnes each year.
The shameful thing is that research suggests that nearly three quarters of food waste is avoidable.
A key reason for avoidable food waste is a ridiculous consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food. Visit any UK supermarket and you will see row upon row of uniform, blemish-free, homogenised fruit and vegetables. What a contrast to Malta! Here we have an abundance of greengrocers and mobile fruit and veg vans selling fresh and seasonal fruit and veg in all manner of weird and wonderful shapes and sizes. NEWS FLASH! A twisted green pepper tastes just as good (or even better) than a perfectly rounded, smooth one.
So, come on consumers; tell your supermarkets that you would rather eat ugly fruit and vegetables than see them wasted.
Other key contributors to avoidable food waste are unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, poor storage, and promotional offers, for which blame sits more squarely on the shoulders of regulators and retailers.