Food is a fundamental element for our nutrition and for our livelihood. After all, those who do not like to taste and cook new dishes
But, especially since the last few years, awareness about food waste has grown more and more. A serious and difficult problem that affects the entire production chain up to the consumer and that is afflicting our age with possible repercussions for the future. In fact, the continuous and increasing waste of food involves not only a loss of food, but also a waste of natural resources with consequences on the environment, on health and on the quality of life itself.
An important problem so much that, to raise awareness, the Food Waste Prevention Day was established in 2014 , celebrated every 5th February. An opportunity to educate people about the subject and demonstrate how, through small daily gestures, it is possible to reduce food waste. But, before going into the possible solutions to this problem, let’s try to understand what food waste actually is and what it entails.

  • What is food waste: how it arises and consequences
  • Food waste organizations: solutions and initiatives
  • Food waste: how to reduce it with daily gestures

What is food waste: how it arises and consequences
Food waste is a relatively recent problem, so much so that there is no single definition to define it. These words tend to mean all those products intended for food consumption which, for various reasons, are eliminated or disposed of. It has been calculated that one third of the food produced is wasted every year . To be more precise, we can distinguish between food loss and food waste. The first identifies the waste that occurs in the first phase of food production, collection and processing. The second, on the other hand, indicates everything that is lost in the second phase of distribution, sale and consumption.
It can be seen how, in fact, food waste affects the entire agri -food chain : from cultivation to the moment in which the food touches our tables. It is a problem that touches many levels even if the greatest consequences occur in the last phase of consumption. In fact, when we throw away a food that we have bought without having consumed it, we waste not only the product itself, but also all those economic and environmental resources that have been used to produce it: water, land, fossil fuels and so on.
All this obviously causes a strong negative environmental impact. The excessive exploitation of these resources, in fact, involves losses in terms of biodiversity, consequent to the destruction of flora and fauna. But not only that: the foods that end up in landfills emit gases that increase the greenhouse effect, causing major changes in the climate. In addition, there are also repercussions on health and justice: it is expected that by 2050 there will be a sharp increase in the population with a consequent increase in food production. This could further accentuate the gap between those who have food and those who do not.
Indeed, it has been shown that the problem of food wasteit happens differently in developing countries than in industrialized ones. In the first case, the waste occurs in the initial stages due to the lack of suitable tools for the production and storage of food. In the second case, however, the waste is greater in the final stages of sale and consumption: we exceed in the purchase of food and some we discard because of low quality or because they are expired or badly stored. On the contrary, we must learn not to waste food , but to buy rationally and consume correctly. In this regard, there are several projects in place to avoid the continuous waste of food. Let’s see them together. Food waste organizations: solutions and initiatives
In recent years, the issue of food waste has spread considerably, raising awareness of more and more people. In fact, more and more organizations are born with this purpose: to prevent food waste and distribute food that is still edible, even if not sold. Among these we can mention the Banco Alimentare Foundation , an Italian company that was born with the aim of helping people in need, distributing those food products that can no longer be put on the market, even though they are still edible, and donates them to those in difficulty. Doing so avoids the waste of food that goes to those who actually need it.
Another company operating in the sector is Last Minute Marketwhich aims to help companies in the recovery of food surpluses, but also pharmaceuticals and bulky goods. But not only: it deals with training, research and data analysis and communication with citizens. Precisely for this reason, since 2010, it has launched the Zero Waste campaign to raise awareness on the subject not only the population, but also institutions, including schools, businesses and public bodies, obtaining good results and always introducing new initiatives. In addition, anti- waste apps
are increasingly popular, such as Too Good To Go, which allows individuals to buy unsold foods at a discounted price and entities, including supermarkets, restaurants and pastry shops, to sell products that would inevitably be wasted, thus avoiding a large loss of food. But the increasingly widespread organizations against food waste are not enough. We must also work at home and daily to fight against this problem. Small tricks that can make a big difference. Let’s see together how to reduce food waste in your own small way. Food waste: how to reduce it with daily gestures
Much food wastetakes place at the domestic level. Let’s think about how much food we waste without even realizing it: because we store the products badly and throw them away as soon as they expire or because we cook more than expected and throw away the leftovers. But with some tricks we can reduce food waste: here’s how. First point: plan the shopping . It is important to buy only the necessary products, without exceeding the purchase of superfluous goods. In this case, some apps could come to our aid, such as My Foody and Ecofood Prime, which allow you to find offers in the supermarkets closest to us and to buy products close to expiry or with aesthetic defects at advantageous prices.
In addition, it is useful to take out a weekly menu, so as to establish in advance what to cook for lunch and dinner and make a reasonable expense, buying only what is necessary and earning time and money. Second point: store food correctly. The Pucci Frigo and UBO apps can be useful, which allow you to check deadlines and inform about the correct conservation of food. In the pantry, the ideal is to dispose and consume first the products that expire in the short term.
In the refrigerator,instead, they must be arranged correctly on the various shelves: in the upper one the foods to be consumed without cooking (yogurt, cheeses, butter), in the central ones the products to be stored after opening (sauces, fresh cheeses, leftovers), in the lower one the foods to be consumed cooked (meat and fish). Fruit and vegetables , on the other hand, must be stored in two different sections to avoid contamination. Third step: check the expiration date. It is interesting to know that there is a difference between the words “to be consumed by” and “to be consumed preferably by”: in the first case it indicates a mandatory date, while in the second case it indicates a probable date, beyond which the food is still edible. The two apps mentioned in the previous paragraph can also be useful for keeping food expirations under control. Fourth point: don’t overcook . It is important not to overdo the food when cooking, but to opt for small proportions in order to consume everything on the plate. In case you overdo it in preparing the food, it is essential to keep the leftovers and reuse them.This brings us to the next step. Fifth point: reuse leftovers. Instead of wasting lunch leftovers, they can be stored or frozen for reuse in a new recipe. There are several recipe books and different applications, including Eco del Frigo, Svuotafrigo and Giallo Zafferano, which offer many creative and tasty ideas for cooking many dishes, using the ingredients available.
The secret, in this case, is also to use all those “less noble” products,such as the skins or the leftovers of vegetables to cook broths, soups, omelettes, rice salads or cold pasta and so on. Finally, it is a good practice when going to a restaurant to request the doggy bag, or literally “the dog’s leftover tray”. More precisely it is a bag or a container in which the leftover food is placed during the meal, thus avoiding a waste of food. Also, it is important to share everything you know about this issue with friends and family. The more people are informed about the causes and consequences, but also about the possible solutions against food waste , the greater the awareness on this issue and less food waste.

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