How do we feed the world? A bargain will help

Shockingly, the UK throws away £13 billion worth of food every year.
Considering that 842 million people in the world are starving, this is ill favoured and somewhat careless; many products don’t pass what’s called a “quality control” process in which items are scrutinized to meet appearance and taste standards. Ever seen wobbly fruit and veg bags? – these guys didn’t make it through to the next round.
Strange isn’t it- a potato may be thrown away just because it’s not round enough…the concept baffles me, but in a society that’s obsessed with image I suppose it doesn’t really come as a surprise that we’re even judging vegetables on the way they look.
But why is this happening when there are so many mouths left to feed? It seems as though we’re caught up in our insular westernised world of greed. How wonderful it would be if we could pick it all up and deliver it straight to those so desperate. But more to the point- why exactly don’t we?
We’re so hindered by difficulty- if something seems unreachable then we tend to not even begin. We-the human race- should develop a system in which our wasted food goes into storage and then is fairly delivered to places such as Ethiopia and Zambia where more than 40% of the population is undernourished. Or perhaps closer to home- donate what we don’t need to soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
Some would say this isn’t amicable because of the sell-by dates; arbitrary labels plastered onto products prohibit them staying on the shelves any longer than they are deemed fresh. But it’s common knowledge now that even foods such as meat and fish are edible past these dates.
Most supermarkets will simply throw this food away to decompose, but some are trying to lessen food wastage; most recently East of England co-op. In the East Anglia region, it’s 125 stores will be offering canned goods and dried foods up to a month beyond their best before dates for the bargain price of 10p.
In a nation of bargain lovers with a weak pound, I expect this will continue to be a success. A week ago, this scheme started and products sold out within an hour showing how effective it could be if applied across the board.
Offering bargains in an attempt to reduce the amount of food wastage seems the only way we will be able to get people to contribute. What does this say about us as a westernised community? That we will only help those we do not know if subsequently, we are helping ourselves.


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