The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to indulge in big family meals and treats. Food is usually front and centre during all the festivities and get-togethers with loved ones. Normally, one can easily waste up to 40% of the food that you buy, but during the festive season, our food wastage increases by an additional 25%. We end up wasting more food than what we buy.
With this in mind, WWF South Africa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is calling on South Africans to be waste-wise this holiday season and think before we discard, use leftovers inspirationally and store food safely with an exciting campaign called “SAME TASTE. NO WASTE”.
“The easiest way to start reducing your food waste, is to more carefully consider how you manage your meals this festive season. When you start planning your meals intentionally and shop consciously, you will already notice that you buy less and so waste less,” says Pavitray Pillay, Behaviour Change Lead within the Business Development Unit at WWF South Africa.
“As individuals we can play a big part in limiting the negative impact of food waste. By decreasing the food wasted in our homes, we can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance food security. This festive season (and beyond), celebrate a reduction in food waste and give the gift of contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals” says Simone Smit, Head of Exploration at UNDP.
South Africa already in a food crisis
It is estimated that food waste costs South Africa over R75 million per annum due to approximately 12,6 million tons of food waste being generated every year. With an estimated 80% of edible food thrown away, this situation is morally and ethically unsustainable, especially in our country where 2,5 million people experience hunger every day and in a country that has the highest child stunting statistic globally.
It is suggested that for every ton of edible surplus food, an estimated 4 000 nutritious meals could be made for those in need. In the period of September to December 2020, 9,34 million people in South Africa (16% of the total population) faced high levels of acute food insecurity. Currently, the key drivers for food insecurity are COVID-19, economic decline, unemployment, rising food prices and drought.
Food waste’s effect on the environment is devastating
When food is wasted, the embedded nutrition, energy, water and capital, as well as other resources are also wasted.
Placing the spotlight on the prevention of food waste
To create awareness of the food waste problem that we face in South Africa and to prove that we can all play a part in changing our behaviour and reducing our food waste footprint, WWF South Africa invited local chefs Jocelyn Meyer Adams, Vusi Ndlovu and Jason Whitehead to lend a hand.
Using their expertise, the talented chefs were all challenged to create some mouth-watering dishes from food that was going to be discarded. A feast was produced, and the chefs delivered delectable dishes with fitting names such as ‘Almost tossed salad’, ‘Pasta the sell by date’, ‘Throw away canapés’, to name a few.
“All of these signature dishes demonstrated that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the food that is all too often rejected. We are encouraging everyone to act as ‘food saving champions’ this holiday season and be smart when shopping for and preparing meals. Educate yourself about food; know where it comes from and the incredible journey it takes and value food more,” concludes Pillay.
Food practices that are good for you and the planet
Keep an eye on WWF South Africa’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and website this festive season for important facts, fun and delicious recipes and tips on how to reduce your food waste footprint.