Last Christmas the terms ‘lockdown’ and ‘quarantine’ were more likely to conjure up thoughts of prison riots and travelling canines than anything that would directly affect us. We were living in a happy oblivion but, of course, things are now completely different. This will be the first Christmas we’ve had in the shadow of COVID-19 and things are set to change.
One such change will be around the food we consume and the amount we waste. Coronavirus and the resulting changes we’ve had to make to our lives have greatly influenced our attitudes to food. Indeed, a study by Veris-Strategies has revealed that nine in ten consumers believe the pandemic will result in a more sustainable, ethical and healthier era of food consumption over the coming years.
High expectations indeed, but is the UK’s food industry equipped to deliver the right systems to keep food supplies plentiful, nutritious and affordable – all in a sustainable manner with minimal waste?
This isn’t an easy question to answer but perhaps the forthcoming Christmas period will help us test and evaluate how attitudes have changed and what initial adjustments businesses and organisation can make to fulfil a sustainable approach to food.
According to the Veris research, 80% of consumers questioned feel COVID-19 has affected how they think about and value the food they buy and eat. Value is a key term here. COVID has had a real and lasting impact on our appreciation of food. Lockdown made trips to the supermarket a rare luxury, certain items became unavailable and the resulting impact on the economy and people’s employment status has meant that as a nation we have less money to spend on food.
As such, it’s no surprise that we agree we should waste less of it. Feeling is so strong that the Coalition of Action on Food Waste has been launched by the CGF (Consumer Goods Forum). It brings together 14 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers and includes household names such as Nestle and Kellogg’s. The aim of the coalition is to halve global food loss. Over 30% of food produced is never eaten, and the resulting waste adds 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas into the planet’s atmosphere each year.
The coalition is working hard to address food loss at a post-harvest level but it’s important we don’t just sit back and let others do the hard work. We can all do our bit to address the situation.
Whether as an individual or organisation, Christmas is a great place to start. Careful food planning, buying only what we need, good storage and re-evaluating how we use leftovers, can all help, but it is also vital that we dispose of the food we do waste sustainably, and in a way that puts it to good use.
Cawleys offer a specialist food waste collection service that can make all the difference to both your organisation’s bottom line, and its eco-credentials.
Fingers crossed this Christmas we will be able to have some form of social gathering and celebration of the festive period and those organisations that offer hospitality would do well to consider setting up a food waste collection. Not only is this something you can ensure your customers are aware of, in terms of demonstrating your environmental awareness but it will also help you save money by significantly reducing the weight (and therefore the cost) of your general waste collections.
To discover more get in touch with the team at Cawleys on 0845 260 2000 or visit www.cawleys.co.uk.