Deal with food waste

letters policy:

To the Editor:

Long lines are a typical sight at several popular mega store checkout counters in Calgary. Food carts in front, behind and beside me.

I hand my membership card to the teller and with a smile she asks if I’d like to upgrade my membership from Gold Star to Executive. I politely decline. It takes the teller less than a minute to settle my two-item (avocado and roasted chicken) purchase.

On my way to the parking lot, a family was frantically picking up food items from the pavement that had fallen from their packed cart. I estimated no less than $47 value of food wasted.

WP’s July 14th editorial “Reducing global food waste can enhance farmer profits,” delved with clarity on how the on-farm production and process side of the equation enhance profit.

It was quoted that $31 billion (Value Chain Management International study estimate) worth of wasted food is attributed to various points in Canada’s Food Value Chain. There was no mention that, according to the study, 10 percent and 20 percent of waste is attributed to on-farm and processing, respectively. And for the highest source of waste (47 percent), we consumers are to thank.

An increase in profit as a result of improved efficiency in the area of production and processing is expected.

However, if we take a closer look at where one can avoid waste, household kitchens are the place to start. This place is minuscule compared to the land area used in producing/processing food.

Waste is inevitable from all kinds of food production and processing, but what comes out of one’s pocket for food purchases and what ends up on the table are things everyone has control over.

If one can manage his consumption, quantifying saving is not an issue.

What comes to mind then is a sustainable educational campaign to focus on the consumption of food. Food consumption is mostly attributed to consumers’ attitude and appetite.

The amount of money wasted from consumption side of food chain (economic); the direct relationship between appetite and health issues (physical), and responsive roles of stakeholders in the food chain continuum (properly regulated by government programs and policies) are the factors that can greatly influence one’s attitude.

Increased technological efficiency as espoused in the WP editorial plus attitude/appetite modification is more viable in the long run in terms of minimizing food waste and increasing profit in the farms in particular and the Canadian populace in general.

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