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Food waste occurs when there is an excess of food produced compared to the amount that can be consumed. Several writers have used writing to raise consciousness about food waste and the impact it has on the environment, economy, and culture in terms of the costs associated with it. Adam Chandler and Stuart are two people who have brought attention to the topic of food waste, and this essay will focus on the debate that Stuart and Adam sparked in their conversations about food waste and how to tackle it.
Stuart’s Debate on Food Waste
According to Stuart, there is a massive food waste globally that takes place from the production, distribution, and consumption of food (Stuart 11). In his book, Stuart mentions the situation of food production in developed countries in Europe, America, and Asia. The food production in these countries is 3-4 times more than the amount of food required by its population or the amount which its population can consume even when stored for future consumptions (Stuart 21). Therefore, this excess production ends up going to waste due to the surplus production. In line with this argument, Stuart mentions the way this food waste has a certain strain on our ecology. In the course of the production, resources get used, and this adds to the secondary effect of food waste.
According to the numbers by Stuart, we consume less than 30% of the total amount of food we produce. He adds that the remaining more than 70% is lost in the food acquisition process. The food loss is from the farming, production process in factories, distribution, markets, and finally in the households (Stuart 39). A simple example is in the process of harvesting in the farms; harvests that look less appealing regarding meeting the cosmetic standards get discarded as waste. A huge percentage is lost in this process since not all the goods collected in the farms meet the corrective standard and due to the competition and desire for profits, a huge percentage of the food is discarded recklessly (Stuart 30; Cordell et al. 305). In the production process, some of the farm production may end up getting spoilt in the factories and end up getting disposed of as waste. It is similar to what happens in the distribution and the households.
The food that expires on the retail shops and at homes ends up getting spoilt. Stuart suggests some of the measures that can be applied in line with the alleviation of the food waste problem. One of the ways is to food cook the waste food that is set aside for the feeding of pigs since the government has strict regulations in regards to the feeding of pigs with raw food (Papargyropoulou et al. 112). Also, the people should embrace the culture of social unacceptance to food waste as practiced in countries such as China. It is applauding to notice the cropping of such movements in Europe in countries such as Britain. It is one of the means by which the society gets sensitized on the need to reduce food waste. The use of platforms such as social media can assist in raising the plight addressed through such movements since people can attach messages and videos that pursue them to take part in this important and fundamental action (Cordell et al. 303). Some of the statistics by Stuart are alarming. He suggests, more than a billion-people suffering due to malnourishment can be rescued if provided with less than 25% of the food wasted in the developed countries such as USA and UK.
Chandler’s Debate on Food Waste
Adam chandler asserts that wasted food in America is the single biggest resident in USA landfills as found by the Environmental protection Agency. According to a guardian report released on July this year, 50% of the total American produced food goes to waste. He further points that the major reason for the food waste is due to the low food prices in the country ministered by food subsidies (Adam).
Adam focusses majorly on food waste in the United States and emphasizes that the country has a lot to do in combating food waste particularly on cultural levels. Adams hope that with the rise of food management education policies, so will an embracement of local crops which help mitigate food waste as there will be no need on extra food imports which propagate food waste (Adam).
Adam argues that the food waste can be reduced by banning supermarkets from disposing food and instead donate unsold food to those who need them i.e. developing nations and direct the expired food in the shelves to compost. The move will help reduce the number of food wasted (Adam).
What should be Done to Alleviate Food Waste
Processing, Preserving, and Donating Excess Farm Produce
The majority of the food wasted in the farms is due to the argument that the selected agricultural products do not meet the cosmetic standards of the market. To curb this, setting up of channels or service factories in regions involved in intense, large scale farming is important (Cordell et al. 300). These companies should participate in the acquisition of the harvest assumed not to conform with cosmetic market standards, process the products, preserve them, and send them to the countries in the third world that are hunger stricken. Such companies can work with NGO’s and government Aid agencies that have programs for assisting countries that are hunger stricken and have delivery channels to ensure the products reach the designated population (Papargyropoulou et al. 113).
Redistribution of Food
As identified, there is a huge percentage of food wasted in the distribution of food. It arises in cases where a farmer is not able to harvest all the produce on his farm, or a retail grocer has ordered in excess, and there is the possibility of food waste. In such cases, the element of food waste can be alleviated through institutions such as food banks and other similar organizations (Cordell et al. 304; Stuart 37). By giving these foods to such support organizations which may or may not offer some compensation to the farmer or retailer will assist in the redistribution of food to outreach programs and groups.
Awareness and Food Waste Measurement Protocol
One of the key ways of managing food loss is through awareness. Once the consumers are informed of the percentages of food that goes to waste, this will appeal to their need to for responsibility and take part in acting appropriately through taking steps in managing food waste in their households. Information on tips of food storage and preservation is one of the key ways where the information on preservation of these products are printed on the wrappers of these foods (Papargyropoulou et al. 109).
Food waste management through setting up of measurement protocols to curb losses at the industrial level, this will have to include government initiated policies. The measurement protocol will provide companies with the data, and the companies will be able to cut down on the production and in line reduce overhead costs on their side which lead to the preservation of resources on their side and reduction of food waste. In addition to this, the government can set up a program targeting food waste reduction where it recognizes global, national, and local business level appreciation programs and identifies institutions that are leading the reduction of food waste (Cordell et al. 296).
Reuse through Fertilizers
One way in which waste can be handled is through the reuse of expired food products especially that from groceries. Companies interested in the reduction of food waste should work handily with the grocery stores to use the expired foods as fertilizers(Pfaltzgraff et al. 312). This process ensures the expired food does not go to waste but is used as manure in growing crops. One of such companies is the California Safe Soil which is involved in the processing over 3750 pounds of expired supermarket foods that would have been wasted. The process in such companies includes the conversion of expired food products into liquid fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is considered safe for the environment through the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions by over three million pounds(Pfaltzgraff et al. 307). This liquid fertilizer from the expired food products has substituted for over one million pounds of nitrogen fertilizers.
Collaboration with Stakeholders
Interested parties in the food industry which include companies and its consumers should work together to reduce the food waste experienced in the country. The use of technology and modern practices are important in tackling behavioral issues in the reduction of food waste. First is the improvement of the food planning through the monitoring of consumer consumption in line with the quantity of food produced(Pfaltzgraff et al. 310). Companies should invest in new and improved techniques in the preservation of processed foods to lengthen their shelf life. Improved logistics management by the involved parties will assist in ensuring the packaged food products can reach designated targets in third-world countries who require this food aid.
As explained in the articles, food loss is not only a national issue but a global threat that requires the same attention as pollution and global warming. It is due to the effects it has on the environment as brought about in the essay about the article by Stuart. Stuart’s debate is inclusive of all parties and not a selected few (Stuart 41). The discussion appeals to everyone to play their role responsibly on the global issue of food waste. Persons in developed countries have the mandate to assist those in the developing countries as who are victims of malnutrition through hunger and famine (Adam). The paper has highlighted the debate by Stuart and the issues he addresses in his discussion (Cordell et al. 293). Also, the paper has joined in the deliberation by pointing out how food waste can be identified, the effects on the environment reduced, and at the same time cutting down the production cost of food processing industries.
Cordell, Dana, et al. “The Story of Phosphorus: Global Food Security and Food for Thought.” Global environmental change 19.2 (2009): 292–305.
Papargyropoulou, Effie, et al. “The Food Waste Hierarchy as a Framework for the Management of Food Surplus and Food Waste.” Journal of Cleaner Production 76 (2014): 106–115.
Pfaltzgraff, Lucie A. et al. “Food Waste Biomass: A Resource for High-Value Chemicals.” Green Chemistry 15.2 (2013): 307–314. Print.
Stuart, Tristram. Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal. WW Norton & Company, 2009. 05-60.
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