According to an article recently completed for Chef 2 Chef, most professional chefs are far more focused on feeding people and forget all too frequently the prevalence of world hunger. Members of any branch of the food service industry cannot deny that, on the path from the delivery dock to the customer’s plate, a lot of aspects of foods and products go to waste. For further proof of this, the article references a study completed by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States, which indicated that approximately one third of the food that gets produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. In the United States, this statistic increases to one half of the food created. The amount of food wasted could go towards feeding the millions in the world who have far too little food.
The first issue addressed by the article is why the United States is particularly guilty on this offense. According to Civil Eats, a blog completed by Amber Turpin, the food grown and farmed in the United States is done in massive quantities and trucked all over the country. This process naturally leads to surplus and spoilage due to travel constraints; often the food is thrown out before it could have been safely consumed. In addition to this, in relative terms to the rest of the world, food is cheap in the United States. When the consumer can upgrade to the large fry for only one dollar more, they are inclined to do so; however, buying more doesn’t increase what we can eat and often results in more thrown away food. Alternatively, in nations where food is expensive, waste is a far less common problem on the consumer level.
The article also offers up its own explanations for the heavy reliance on waste in the United States. Often, consumers seek to make recipes that involve odd ingredients. The ingredient is purchased and only used rarely to repeat the recipe. This process results in the rest of the product being thrown away once the expiration date has come and gone. There is also a cultural expectation that food must be visually appealing to be consumed; the slightest sign of imperfection results in further unnecessary waste.
Several solutions are presented, most of which are to be taken on the part of chefs. Developing relationships with local farmers could work symbiotically, with fresh produce no longer going to waste. Reasonable proportions should be presented in every meal; or, as an alternative, allow customers to choose their own portion sizes. Composting should be engaged and education should be sought on how to store food to get the maximum usage out of it. Solutions are offered from the Environmental Protection Agency, where sustainable practices are encouraged. Feed hungry humans and animals with any leftover or unnecessary food. Compost can also be sought, to meet the needs of soil.