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Beat the Hunger

  • Published at 12:08 pm October 19th, 2018
Food Waste
Photo: Bigstock

Methods of reducing food scarcity worldwide

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nearly a billion people do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. One out of nine people suffer from chronic hunger-- that’s 821 million people worldwide. There are three primary reasons behind this issue—the unavailability of food, the lack of access to food, and the improper utilization of food.

The reasons mentioned above do not affect people with a decent income. There is a vast number of the world’s population who don’t get to enjoy even one meal a day. It’s not only the unemployed who have to suffer, countless people work for the entire day and still can’t make enough to feed their family twice a day. The most shocking fact is that global food production is sufficient to feed 7.2 bn people, but we waste so much food on a daily basis that it imbalances the natural cycle.

We gain access to food through a supply chain that begins with the food being harvested by the producers and ends with it being brought to the consumers by local retailers. Throughout this process, a huge quantity of food gets disposed of due to certain standards set by the sellers’ market. The sellers are not the ones to be blamed directly as they operate solely based on consumer demands. It is quite obvious that we, as consumers, would not like to have apples with spots since we’re paying for it. However, that does not change the fact that an apple with spots on it is the same as any other apple in terms of taste and nutrition. 

Moreover, we unknowingly end up wasting a lot of food every day. After purchasing the fresh produce comes the part where we process the raw materials and turn it into a finely cooked meal. The ones cooking at individual homes make sure that there is enough food on the table to feed all the members of the family. In order to do so, they prepare a bit extra just in case someone wants to have more. On most days, the extra food ends up in the fridge as leftovers and in some cases, the food is thrown away since certain families have a fresh-meals-only policy. This type of food waste also happens in larger numbers, especially at weddings, birthdays and during social events. Tonnes of food is disposed of at the end of an event, as if the ones who get paid for making it, and the ones doing the paying don’t bother.

However, there are many ways in which we can prevent and reduce food wastage, and many people and organizations out there are already at work. Here are a few of them:

Community fridgePhoto: BBC.com

This idea first gained recognition throughout all social media platforms worldwide when a man installed a fridge in front of his house in Hail, Saudi Arabia and invited his neighbours to donate excessive food for the ones in need. Similarly, the same idea was also implemented in the streets of Chennai where three refrigerators were spotted providing free food to at least 400 needy people. 

FPhoto: Khaleej Timesree meals for job-seekers

A restaurant in Dubai started offering a unique scheme for people who cannot afford daily meals. No terms and conditions are applied to this idea. All you have to do is go to the counter and mention the advert hanging on the entrance. The Kebab Shop will serve you a meal with your preferences and the staff never treats anyone differently. Kamal Rizvi (the owner) runs this idea with a hope that the ones in need can come in anytime for a meal and can pay them back whenever they can afford to.  

Local food bank

Such organizations collect food from various restaurants and grocery shops and outsource to their partner agencies to serve the ones in need. They collect food items which the outlets think are not fit for their consumers (but still fit for consumption). Non-profit organizations such as Food Angel, Sparwood Food Bank, Foodlink, Feeding America, Care and Share Food Bank and many more are operating throughout Hong Kong, Austrailia, USA, UK, Germany, France, Africa, etc.

Free meals for the homeless and elderlyPhoto: ejinsight

Pei Ho’s Cha Chaan Teng, a Hong Kong-style Chinese BBQ tea restaurant in Sham Shui Po is renowned for serving free meals to the ones in need around the neighbourhood. Chan Cheuk-ming (the owner) started offering free food vouchers, which could be redeemed for a three-dish meal box, to people in need of aid. His idea gained recognition swiftly and other outlets started following his method. Alongside his contribution towards the society, he also received aid from neighbours, friends and family which allowed him to serve more people. 

Eatery turning food waste into lunch

Spill, a restaurant in Malmö (Sweden), collects food items from shops and turns it into items being served at their tables. Most retailers end up throwing away items which they do not deem fit for sale, like canned products with dents on it, green tomatoes, spotted cabbages, etc. Spill gathers such items from various vendors and ensures that the food does not go to waste. The most interesting part about this is that they do not have any specific menu. The chefs get to know about the menu a day or two prior to serving.

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