Yesterday on the BBC News website it was reported that 'Britain's biggest supermarkets have been defending their practices' after it was revealed that 'up to half of the world's food is thrown away.' The article goes on to explain that wastage happens mainly at manufacture and production - many foods not making it to market based on aesthetic appearance. What intrigues me is that food is dismissed simply because it doesn't look 'nice'; whilst its nutritional value and taste, amongst other things remain the same; and also the waste not at manufacturing, but at sales.
I was lucky during the summer of 2012 to work inside the Olympic Park with Sodexo Prestige a catering and events company, as a cashier. I must admit although the job title sounds really mundane it is the best job I have ever had - even though I only worked two shifts. I understand that my declaration of it being my best job on the basis of 16 hours may seem a little weak - as it could be argued that I hadn't had enough experience of the job, that maybe I only experienced the perks. However I only worked two shifts as my second shift, which saw me closing, opened my eyes to the enormity of food wastage at sales level; led to me quitting the job.
At the end of my second and final shift on the 'Sweets & Treats' counter, I and some other colleagues had to place left over sandwiches, yoghurt pots, fruit packs etc, on a freezer for them to be logged and then thrown in a bin. This wasn't the odd five, but enough to feed a party of 30 a few times over. The food had nothing wrong with it, it had been stored correctly and there was no contamination. It just simply wouldn't look good enough the next day.
Now there were scores of these food counters dotted around the Olympic Park leading me to think of the massive scale on which food was being thrown away. Businesses will argue that they throw away food as the foods have lost some nutritional value - but I do not think this is enough of a reason, I mean how much is that lost particle of magnesium or another obscure nutrient really going to affect us? And I do not believe that when a consumer buys a BLT sandwich they are thinking of all the nutrients they are going to gain when they tuck in.
I guess it's easy for me to demand that companies stop wastage of perfectly good food. I understand that they are running a business and that they want to give their customers the highest quality food - well at least have it look as though it is high in quality, but isn't there a way to at least reduce it? Maybe it is too romantic an idea for the ugly looking food to make it to those who would really appreciate it. However I do not believe that it is too far fetched an idea for us to stop talking about this issue and actually come up with solutions to fix this problem.