Food waste incorporates items that are wasted, uneaten or lost. The food waste products emerge from numerous areas and occur majorly at the stage of processing, producing, retailing and consuming. It has become a great matter of concern to the public and food security stakeholders. Food waste can also be defined as the poor use of available food leading to spoilage or the failure to put in place quality measures to avoid contamination of the food components. Individuals aged between 18-34 years waste food in large quantities (Sustainablefoodtrust.org). Addressing food wastage amongst this segment provides food security, reduces financial burdens, and accelerates food preservation. It is essential for individuals to take responsibility in reducing the level of food waste as it enhances a more economical growth of all the parties involved.
Reasons for Increased Levels of Food Waste
Age is a major determinant in food wastage with young people wasting food items more than adults. The age group between 18-34 years has a higher rate of food wastage compared to any other group (Sustainablefoodtrust.org). The major reason being the lack of knowledge. The deficiency of awareness on how effectively to utilize available food resources has been on the low. These young individuals will need more enlightening on the challenges that may occur if they fail to preserve and make good use of food at their disposal. The young generations have a tendency of preferring one food over the other. This will lead to an increase in food waste since the food they may not relate with will go to waste.
The feeding habit of this age group is also another factor that points to food wastage. They tend to be attracted to many food types and they may serve themselves huge portions that they may find hard to the consumer all at once. The remnants will be wasted since they will not be interested in it anymore. This age group draws much of the attention from the media since they relate to most of the foods advertised in different mass media platforms. They become more attracted to these items compared to those available at the household level. Their decision on what to consume will be guided on what is more published where they are likely to ignore some of the food products resulting in wastage. Food wastage has led to food shortages in some global regions. This has negatively affected the human population leading to death and malnutrition.
Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Taking a family food waste challenge is one of the viable ways of eliminating food wastage. It attracts young adults to measure how much they waste and develop measures of reducing increased wastes. This can be motivated by setting a reward, and while competing the young adults will try to reduce the levels of food waste. They will take up the challenge and end up consuming all the foods to attain the intended rewards. Planning for a week’s meals is also another effective way. According to Jeung, Jung, Kim and Cha (51), the cooking methods should be improved as a way to reduce food waste. Parents and guardians should ensure that they plan for a weekly meal schedule in efforts to avoid food wastage among the targeted group. It helps reduce waste and all food purchased will be well utilized. Purchasing of less food to start with is also a significant way of reducing food wastage (Sakaguchi, Pak, Potts 433). It does not only helps in controlling food wastage but also assists in saving time. Parents do not need to make frequent trips to shopping centers.
Limiting pre-meal snacking is also one effective way of eradicating food inappropriate use of food products. This will help them feed on the right portions during dinner helping in reducing food wastage. According to Romani, Grippi, Bagozzi and Barone (221), there is a need to implement effective strategies the will help develop good behaviors that will reduce food wastage. It also ensures that all food prepared for a specific meal is completely consumed. The age group between 18-25 also prefers food that is easy to eat. Having fun with food will motivate young adults to eat more of what is given to them. The use of suitable names for dishes offered will attract them since they will relate to some of the names. Food serving should be done well and also factoring the hygiene (Lam). There is also a need to get the portions right. Some of them may be unable to serve themselves and they should be served a small portion to avoid food wastage. Most of the young people in this group like to serve themselves. The tactic encourages them to take small portions and come back for more if they are still hungry. This approached helps them to gauge their appetites and is less likely to have food wastage since they decide for themselves what to consume.
Helping to develop a culture of saving what they don’t eat will also help reduce food waste. Creating a sense of responsibility and guilt will help influence practices that will reduce food wastage (Hebrok and Boks 382). Where one declares that they are full before finishing a reasonable amount of the meal, the leftovers should be saved. The lunch for this age group should also be parked strategically. Parking right portions, using an icepack to reduce spoilage, coaching this age group at home what they don’t eat will help control high levels of food wastage. Food sharing is necessary and leads to the reduction of food wastage (Morone, Falcone, Imbert and Morone 754). Teaching about food is also another effective way of reducing food waste. According to Jeung, Jung, Kim and Cha (2008), improving food cooking methods, changing of Portion sizes and measuring the number of leftovers will help reduce food wastage. When young adults understand the value of food, they will grow up having good and quality feeding habits. This assists in controlling food wastage. This age is very open-minded and are attracted to activities that can keep them busy, and this can be used to the advantage to make them learn more, this can be done by planning meals you cook together, visit farms and learning more on food crops and animals, planting a garden or having a window herb planted together and making sure they understand what happens to food that they find themselves throw away.
Benefits of Reducing Food Waste
The waste of food has an environmental impact that contributes to climate change. Climate change has been one of the major issues that the entire world is facing today. This is an area that all the age groups should be involved to ensure that all the activities they are involved in help in control climatic change. The food waste has been one of the areas which have affected climate change due to the global greenhouse gas emission. Controlling the levels of food wastage will be of great benefit in that the gas emissions will be reduced to manageable levels. There is a need to observe how the activities in food waste affect the environment and which best measures can be adopted to help reduces the effects.
The move to reduce food wastage and loss have a high level of financial benefits to businesses and individual households. Food waste has seen businesses incur huge costs that have majorly led to increasing financial burdens. The costs have seen most of them close down due to lack of operational capital lead by high cost due to food wastage. There is a need to be involved in activities that control food loss, and this will lead to the growth of businesses and economic growth in all the regions. Most of the businesses in the world are in the food industry and given the nature of food there is a need for them to adopt a measure which helps them avoid wastage the businesses should invest in quality storage facilities to avoid losses due to spoilage of food.
Food Security Benefit
The move to reduce food loss and waste will help build on food security. The increased level of food wastage has to lead to a high level of people in the world to go hungry. The move to reduce food waste will lead to the growth of the potential to feed everyone in the globe suffering from malnutrition. Reducing high food tones going to waste yearly supports food security. According to Thyberg and Tonjes (103), Food waste prevention has the highest economic benefits. There is a need to adopt good food preservation methods to help store food for long without any spoilage. This will help store food when there is high production around the globe and save the food for use when there is low production.
There is a need in today’s world to take adequate measures to reduce food waste. If the food waste level continues to increase there will be massive challenges that the world will face. Addressing food loss can be a good move that will lead to the growth in businesses who are great contributors to the growth of the economy. There is also a need to create more awareness in the area of food waste. This will help to help people take measures which will help them reduce the levels of food waste and will also will educate them on ways to handle the excess food at their disposal. The awareness will offer guidelines on best approaches and quality habits that can be adopted to eliminate food wastage. Additionally, the same can be done through the media, motivational talks and development of policies that guide the people. There should be motivations which can involve rewards on those undertaking quality measures to reduce food wastage.