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.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20968076

Comments

Such a good argument. Businesses would rather have a hassle free life if they're going to lose money over products than bother with sending it to the many people that are going hungry in the UK.

Should take this to a campaign level!

Exactly, and I think people aren't making enough noise about it becuase they have accepted this fact.

There's a piece about this by Joan Smith, in the i Paper today, just if you interested in reading more though!

Thank you Jem!

On the subject of ugly food, if you take a peek at the pictures on my Twitter account you will find a carrot that looks remarkably like a penis and a swede that strongly resembles a vagina. Ugly food is already out there in the supermarkets! I don't see why it should bother caterers or consumers - you peel them and cut them up anyway.

The big problem is contamination and public health (rather than loss of nutrition) - companies are too scared to give it away past its sell by date or once it has been cooked and left in the fridge for days. I've worked in catering since I was 14 and once had to sign a form to take leftovers home saying I wouldn't sue if I got sick... ridiculous, but that's the way it is. 

Yes I agree, it just gets too ridiculous.

Ugly Food