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Let's talk about food waste - Food24 editor weighs in

The amount of edible food that is wasted worldwide will shock you.

29 Sep 2017

I was a guest at the recent Food Studio conference - where Hannerie Visser and her super creative team from Studio H presented some amazing interactive talks and workshops on 'the business of food' where individuals like Sarah Keough and Tommy Werner (from Put A Egg On It - yes, without the 'n'!) and the aspirational Ruby van den Broek of Instock in the Netherlands, had many of us audience members gaping and marveling with awe at the incredible things they are doing in the world of food. 

Ruby's talk struck me the most. She opened Instock - an Amsterdam based restaurant chain that turns surplus food that they get from other restaurants and retailers into meals that are then 'recycled' and served to customers as if they were in any other normal restaurant. You can read more about the concept here but it's such a clever idea!

Ruby shared a few insights and stats that were rather terrifying! For instance, did you know that one-third of all food produced (in the world) ends up as waste? And that the amount of food wasted in Europe is actually able to feed 200 million people. Another thing that really hit home, was when she said that it takes 15 Kilo Litres of water to produce 1 Kilogram of beef. That is equivalent to 427 showers! And if you live in the Western Cape, you'll truly know the impact of that statement. 

If you're looking for some recipes in which you don't need water, check out these two below that were developed by top SA chefs in a water-less cooking challenge: 

Pete Goffe-wood's grilled rib eye with masala butter

Franck Dangereux's seared tuna with soy, lime and chilli salsa

We really need to get our heads around the concept that wasting not only food, but materials like plastic and even water, has really drastic consequences. Well done to all the local restaurants who are joining the #refusethestraw movement . Read about why you shouldn't be sipping from straws at all!

Food24 contributor, Julie Donald, is really walking the walk by taking some serious steps in becoming more 'waste conscious' and shares tips for how you can join the fight against waste. She mentions sticking to the 'five Rs' which includes the issue of rot. You might be surprised to know that not all the food that's thrown onto the municipal trucks is able to be broken down, simply because it's so squashed and compacted that there is no space for water and bacteria to circulate (which enables the break-down process). See what the other Rs are here

When shopping, I've started refusing to put my fruit and veggies in those flimsy little plastic bags (cue: sideways glance from store assistant) and although it's not going to change the world overnight, it's a step towards being more mindful about my consumerism habits and that, I think, is maybe a good enough place to start. 

Updated on 4 October 2017:

If you're serious about limiting food waste (and why wouldn't you be?), then check out this free app called Olio that connects people with their neighbours and with local shops so leftover food can be shared, and not thrown away. Genius right? 

Are you taking steps to avoid excessive wastage in your life? Please share them with us in the comments below or email me!

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Read more on: food waste

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