Throwing away food is like stealing from the poor and hungry
HAVE you noticed the eye-catching advertisements that Tesco are currently running on food waste? Tesco is promising in its adverts that by 2020 ‘ no good food will go to waste in Tesco Ireland stores’. In another advert they tell the reader that they became the founding partner of FoodCloud in 2013 and have since then donated four million meals to those in need. That works out at the company donating 40,000 meals each week from their stores.
Tesco are not the only food outlet involved in making customers aware of the scandal of food waste. Aldi have partnered with FoodCloud, a not-for-profit organisation which aims at addressing the problem of food waste and food poverty. By partnering with FoodCloud, Aldi stores donate surplus food to charities and community organisations. Other supermarkets too are championing the cause.
On Tuesday of the week before last there was a sentence in the Gospel reading at Mass which read: ‘ Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and do not have a spare tunic’. (Lk 9: 3) It set me thinking about the amount of food we waste. The statistics are shocking.
In Ireland every year we throw out one million tonnes of good food. It means that every household wastes €700 worth of food on an annual basis. It’s worth noting that one in eight people in Ireland experiences food poverty. Across the European Union 100 million tonnes of food are binned.
Not for me to interfere in the internal affairs of the United States of America, still it’s worth noting that 44 per cent of all the food they produce eaten.
While we in the developed world waste obscene quantities of food, of the seven billion people on the planet, one billion have not got enough to eat. It sounds crazy and it is crazy. These figures are simply shocking and scandalous. What are we doing about it? What am I doing about it?
While it is great to see the supermarkets being concerned about food waste it seems there is some ambiguity about how they market their produce. How often do we see advertising campaigns offering buy-one-get one-free or buy €X amount of groceries and you get a ‘free-gift’. It’s is never as if the supermarkets ignite a behaviour in us that wants us to fill our fridges and shelves and really they’re not too worried what we do with it. Of course they want to make profits for their companies/shareholders. Still, supermarkets need to be more responsible in their marketing and how they go about selling their produce.
We never have a problem blaming someone else for all our woes. But if this column makes one person waste less food this week then honestly I’ll be chuffed with myself. Do you know how much food you waste? When did you last bin food because it was gone bad?
We should be wasting nothing. Imagine the hullabaloo that would emerge if every household was ordered to pay euro-for-euro for the food they waste? There would be a national outcry. Yet these same households quietly and easily bin €700 worth of food on an annual basis. And even pay to bin it.
Wise words from Pope Francis: ‘ Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.’