Food Waste

Food Waste - stop global food waste!

Food waste is a global problem that must be taken seriously and combated. In view of the current situation, we would like to discourage hoarding, which produces enormous food waste, and appeal to the sensible use of food. But what does "food waste" actually mean?

Food waste is a global problem that must be taken seriously and combated. In view of the current situation, we would like to discourage hoarding, which produces enormous food waste, and appeal to the sensible use of food. But what does "food waste" actually mean?

Food Waste

Although at NIKIN we are primarily concerned with sustainable materials in the fashion industry and fighting global deforestation, it is important to think sustainably in other areas of life as well. We want to motivate people to rethink their lifestyle and possibly make it more sustainable. It is well known that food waste is a significant problem worldwide - some people have far too much and throw it away, while others have nothing and suffer from hunger. Especially in times of crisis, we experience a rapid increase in food waste. Education on the topic of food waste and its consequences is necessary. This is the only way to do something about it.

What does "food waste" actually mean?

In the industrialised countries of the western world, people have an overabundance of food at their disposal - we buy and have more than we need. This almost inevitably leads to discrepancies. The difference between what is available and what we actually consume is all the food we lose or actively throw away.

A distinction is made between food losses - everything that is lost during production or overall in the supply chain - and actual waste. The latter is all the food we don't use. And it happens to all of us. Every day. Too much bought and spoiled, too big a portion stuffed on the plate....

Where are the main culprits?

If one investigates the causes, it can be determined that in Switzerland one third of the products produced are not consumed - about 2 million tonnes (!) of food per year. Half of this is disposed of either in private households or in restaurants and hotels. This amount is equivalent to almost one meal per person per day. Unbelievable, isn't it? But true.

Why the waste?

Food waste is partly caused by standards or simply consumer preferences: vegetables and fruit are "disposed of" because they do not meet the standard in size and shape. The same applies to production surpluses - before lowering the price, the excess is rather destroyed. There are also unintentional mishaps during processing and transport.

An important factor is the so-called "best before" date - every package must indicate the date by which a food is best consumed. Unfortunately, both shops and consumers interpret this recommendation as "absolutely throw it away after that". As a result, enormous amounts of perfectly good food end up in the rubbish every day, even at supermarkets. However, as already mentioned, households are among the biggest single wasters. In other words, the end consumers - that's all of us.


Elsewhere in the world, the most basic necessities are lacking

While food ends up in the rubbish every day in the rich countries, there is a lack of food in the less favoured areas of the world. Southeast Asia and South America have been successful in the fight against hunger in recent years, while in Africa people still go to sleep without adequate meals. One in nine people worldwide is hungry or suffers from malnutrition. This is despite the fact that the amount of food produced globally could feed the world's population.

Admittedly, if we no longer throw anything away, this does not mean that hungry people elsewhere in the world will immediately have something to eat. On the other hand, falling sales would force producers to produce more sustainably and/or serve other markets.

Stop food waste - but how?

Of course, curbing food loss and waste requires a concerted effort at government level as well. However, that alone is not enough. Since we individuals throw away the most, the ball is in our court. There are several tricks we can use to trick ourselves into not buying or ordering more than we really need.

For example, you should not go shopping hungry. You almost always buy more than you need. The same applies to preparation - it's better to peel one less potato than to have to dispose of something later. Before eating, a large glass of water helps to fill the stomach - so you don't put unnecessarily large portions on your plate.

If you plan your meals on a weekly basis, you can buy the exact quantities in advance and also calculate so that leftovers are used in the next day's dish. Cooking for two days is also legitimate to avoid waste.

A certain orderliness also helps with storage: always put perishable food at the front of the fridge - that way you can see it and reach for it first. What cannot be eaten immediately can also be frozen under certain circumstances. But even in the freezer, the rule is: age before beauty! In other words, put the freshest meals in the back. Because even frozen food cannot be kept indefinitely. 

The potentially ready-prepared meals in the freezer are ideal if you don't feel like cooking or want to serve more than one dish for guests. It just takes a little planning.

Are there projects against food waste?

In fact, from practical blogs to the "leftovers app", there are already a lot of projects that help reduce food waste. Recipes for "leftover feasts" are just as much a part of this as mobile apps that help you find meals nearby that are "Too Good To Go" - at very reasonable prices.

A rethink is also taking place in retail and at the large chains. It is no longer uncommon for bakers to offer bread and pastries from the day before, at reasonable prices. In Swiss cities, the "Äss-Bar" is very popular. Supermarkets also mark down products that are about to expire - or donate them before they expire, for example to lunch counters or similar social services.

Eat Bar_ ToGoodToGo

France has come a long way in the fight against food waste: supermarkets there have not been allowed to throw away food for several years. Instead, much more is donated to social institutions. But France is doing even more. Food waste is officially a punishable offence - so far, the French are the only ones in the world to do so. If food waste is discovered, it can be punished with fines of up to 3,750 euros. The successes can already be seen.

Alone against Food Waste

First of all - those who are now startled and want to do something can start with themselves. If everyone did that, it would already be good. Raising the issue with friends and colleagues is not a bad idea either. This is even more true for all our readers who work in the catering or food industry! If you want to do something beyond that, you can of course make sure that opinions are formed. This in the sense of a law against food waste, but also through voluntary work in all areas where food is supplied to people who cannot afford everything that the better-off throw away. And yes, they exist in Switzerland too!


Back to the blog

Leave a comment

Please note that comments must be approved before publication.