Food Waste – die globale Lebensmittelverschwendung stoppen! - NIKIN EU

Food Waste – stop global food waste!

Food waste is a global problem that needs to be taken seriously and combated. Due to current circumstances, we want to advise against panic buying, which produces enormous food waste, and appeal to people to use food sensibly. But what does “food waste” actually mean?

Food waste is a global problem that needs to be taken seriously and combated. Due to current circumstances, we want to advise against panic buying, which produces enormous food waste, and appeal to people to use food sensibly. But what does “food waste” actually mean?

Food Waste

Although we at NIKIN are primarily concerned with sustainable materials in the fashion industry and fight against global deforestation, it is important to think sustainably in other areas of life too. 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 are hungry. We experience a rapid increase in food waste, especially in times of crisis. 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 industrialized countries of the Western world there is an overabundance of food available to people - 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 - i.e. everything that is lost during production or in the supply chain as a whole - and actual waste. The latter is all the food that we don't use. And that happens to each of us. Every day. Too much was bought and spoiled, too large a portion was put on the plate.

Where are the main perpetrators located?

If you investigate the causes, it can be determined that a third of the products produced in Switzerland are not consumed - around 2 million tons (!) of food per year. Half of it is disposed of either in private households or in restaurants and hotels. This amount corresponds to almost one meal per person every day. Incredible, isn't it? Right but.

Why the waste?

In part, food waste is 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, it is better to destroy the excess. Unintentional breakdowns also occur during processing and transport.

An important factor is the so-called “best before date” – the date by which a food should best be consumed must be stated on every packaging. Unfortunately, both stores and consumers interpret this recommendation as “be sure to throw it away afterwards.” Even in supermarkets, enormous amounts of absolutely good food end up in the trash every day. However, as already mentioned, households are among the biggest individual spenders. In other words, the end consumers – that’s all of us.


Elsewhere in the world there is a lack of essentials

While food ends up in the trash every day in rich countries, there is a lack of food in the less advantaged 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 sufficient meals. One in nine people worldwide is hungry or suffers from malnutrition. And this despite the fact that the amount of food produced globally could feed the world population.

Admittedly, if we no longer throw anything away, that doesn't 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 to serve other markets.

Stop food waste – but how?

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

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

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

A certain degree of order also helps when it comes to storage: always put perishable foods at the front of the fridge - this way you can keep an eye on them and reach for them first. If you can't eat it straight away, it may also be possible to freeze it. But the same applies in the freezer: age before beauty! In other words: put the freshest meals in the back. Even when frozen, food does not last indefinitely. 

The 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 any projects against food waste?

In fact – from practical blogs to the “leftovers app”, there are already a whole host of projects that help curb food waste. Recipes for “leftover feasts” are included, as are mobile apps that help you find nearby meals that are “Too Good To Go” – at very reasonable prices.

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

Äss-Bar_ ToGoodToGo

France is very far 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 offense - so far the French are alone in the world. If food waste is discovered, this can be punished with fines of up to 3,750 euros. The successes can already be seen.

Alone against food waste

First of all – if you are startled and want to do something, you can start with yourself. If everyone did that, it would be good. Bringing up the topic with friends and colleagues is also not a bad idea. This applies even more to all of our readers who work in the catering or food industry! Anyone who wants to do something beyond that can of course help shape opinions. This is in the sense of a law against food waste, but also through voluntary work in all areas that provide food to people who cannot afford everything that better-off people throw away. And yes, they are also available in Switzerland!


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