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Food that is wasted is more than just food wasted

Read time: 2 mins

From the day we are born to the day we bid bye to this Earth, food is always an integral part of our daily life. But how much do we eat and how much do we snatch from others’ plate by wasting it? In India, when 48 million or 2 in 5 children below the age of five are stunted, when India ranks lowly at 100 among 118 countries according to the 2017 Global Hunger Index and 194.6 million people live hungry, food wasted is food snatched from deprived persons’ plate. 

Food wastage is considered as a prominent issue at policy level with growing concern on food security to feed the ever growing population. But an estimated one-third of all food produced in the world for human consumption every year is either lost or wasted. In this context, a renowned American chef Thomas Keller rightly said, “Respect for food is a respect for life, for who we are and what we do”. On the same lines, the United Nations dedicated the year 2013 to create awareness on food wastage by popularizing the slogan “Think.Eat.Save”.

“Think.Eat.Save” is a step towards reducing the ‘foodprint’ of individuals by spreading the information on natural capital waste, carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions linked with food waste. So, food wasted is not just food in the bin, but waste of all the natural resources involved in its production. Food wastage has an imprint on water used for irrigation, cleaning and cooking, energy for  pumping water, transportation and processing. A major impact is on on the land occupied for growing food, which would have otherwise been used for something else, and on biodiversity since acres of forests are cleared and animals killed, to grow crops .

As blind followers of the fast food culture and unnecessary shopping, most urban households often lack awareness of food waste and undervalue food. They buy in bulk, plan poorly and over prepare their meals. This increases the carbon footprint in the consumer level food wastage due to energy usage in all phases of the supply chain. It is wiser to eat everything that you take or cook. So, think before you put it in the bin!