How often do you throw away food? We have all been guilty of it. Perhaps your eyes were bigger than your stomach, and you threw away most of your meal. The United Kingdom is divided into two halves – those who are responsible for food waste and those who are struggling with food insecurity. Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food."More than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity as their constant companion”. Did you know that the average family throws away over £730 worth of food a year? We are looking at the food waste pandemic and how Doctor A Cosmetics is campaigning for anti-food waste regulations.
The food waste pandemic
Food waste has an economic, environmental, and social impact.
Every year, the UK population wastes an estimated 6.7 million tonnes of food, worth £10.2 billion. Around 70% of this food was edible. This food could have been distributed to soup kitchens, food banks, homeless individuals and families. Research conducted in 2011 suggests that around one-third of all food produced for humans ends up as food waste. In developing countries, food waste typically occurs at a production and retail stage, whereas it occurs with the consumer in developed countries.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that food waste is responsible for around % of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, with 30% of available agricultural land being used for food that will inevitably be wasted.
Children and food poverty
Many children in the United Kingdom suffer from food poverty and food insecurity. UNICEF estimated in 2017 that 19% of children under the age of 15 live with someone who faces moderate or severe food insecurity. Furthermore, 10% of children live with severely food-insecure people. UNICEF also reports that an 41% of children live in a moderately or severely food-insecure household.
Food wastage and climate change
Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes approximately about 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Food wastage causes so many problems. It contributes to landfill space, the greenhouse effect and costs the economy too much. What’s worse is that most of this food that is thrown away is good food. It is edible and can be given to hungry adults especially hungry children.
How you can prevent food waste
Just like tackling climate change, we can all prevent food wastes by taking small but proactive steps to change our behaviour. We’re already making important strides towards reducing food waste. UK food waste is fallen by 7% per person in the three years leading up to 2020.
Yet, there’s still much that we can do. Here are a few small steps you can take every day to help promote anti-food waste:
- Plan the food you’re making each week, including writing (and sticking!) to a shopping list.
- Store leftovers in your freezers, including if it is about to ‘go off’.Re-purpose food, especially vegetables, into soups and spices.
- Understand how sell-by dates work and how to tell if food has ‘gone off’.
- Compost wherever possible, just like recycling single-use plastic.
Tackling food waste
Doctor A Cosmetics is a skincare brand on a mission to change the world. As an eco-friendly, clean, give back, skincare brand, our social conscious drives everything we do, from encouraging diversity within the beauty industry to supporting social campaigns through our charity partners. Anti-food waste is one of the main campaigns that we support, in partnership with our sister charity, Anika Food Charity.
Anika Food Charity is a baby and food bank that provides food and essentials to those in need. It also campaigns on related social issues, such as period poverty and homelessness. Anika Food Charity was established by our founder, Doctor Anika. We donate 5% of our profits annually to supporting the work of Anika Food Charity to help promote its anti-food waste campaign and end food poverty in the UK.
In 2019, Doctor Anika launched an online petition, calling on the Prime Minister to implement an anti-food waste law similar to France. Since 2016, our European neighbours have prohibited supermarkets from throwing out unused and edible food instead of requiring them to donate unsold food items to local charities. Through this campaign, we wish to create a sustainable programme (below) to help tackle both food wastage & food poverty. This program will:
- Prohibit supermarkets from destroying and wasting unsold & edible food and compulsory donating them to food banks, soup kitchens, food redistribution programmes and food charities.
- Require the United Kingdom supermarkets to give wrongfully packaged or damaged edible food in good condition to United Kingdom food banks, soup kitchens, food redistribution programmes & food charities.
- Require vegetable products that cannot be donated as they are no longer edible to be donated to fertilizer companies so they can be used as organic fertilizers for uses in both the feed and agricultural industries and also be used as animal food.
Food poverty and food wastage is a real problem. Food is the best medicine for our body and there are so many of us without it.
We have a voice. Let’s use it to vote for us and be a voice for the voiceless.