Roughly one-third of all food produced in the world is wasted each year. That’s equivalent to over 550 billion euros worth of food chucked away in the developed world alone. To put that into more (if you’ll forgive me) easily-digestible terms: every year, consumers in the rich world bin a quantity equal to the entire food production of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the years, we’ve had plenty of comments sent in by readers suggesting ways of cutting food waste. To get a response to their ideas, we approached Massimo Bottura, decorated chef and proprietor of the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.
Bottura has made it his mission to tackle the issue of food waste, founding the non-profit organisation Food for Soul to help empower communities to fight food waste through social inclusion, and recently publishing the thought-provoking book Bread is Gold, presenting recipes from over 50 of the world’s best chefs using ordinary ingredients that many would consider “left-overs” or things to be thrown away. Highlights include recipes for home-made banana peel chutney, strawberry gazpacho, pasta with popcorn pesto, and burnt lime soup.
So, what do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Franz, who thinks the secret is to teach children the real value of food, since (Franz believes) it’s too late for older generations. That seems overly gloomy about us old’uns, perhaps. But is he at least right about the importance of teaching children to understand the worth of the food we eat?
Next up, we had a comment from Carlos, who thinks we need to change the stigma against ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables. Carlos believes that too much produce is being wasted because supermarkets refuse to stock items that don’t meet our artificially high standards of what fruit and veggies should look like. Is he right?
Next, we had a comment from Enzo, who thinks food should be more expensive (or, at least, the real cost of cheap food – such as the burden placed on public healthcare by junk food – should be properly factored into the retail price). Would people value their food more if it were costlier?
Finally, we had a comment from Vytautas, who says it is his right to waste food if he wants to because he paid for it. Is he right? What would Massimo Bottura say to him?
The interview with Massimo Bottura is the latest in our #Ask series, which recently included the CEO of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva; European Central Bank President Mario Draghi; President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly.
How can we get people to stop wasting so much food? Would people throw out less food if it was more expensive? How can we teach children the value of the food we eat? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!