During Gulfood 2020 week, an array of topics were covered by different speakers over four days, one of them being the global problem that is food waste. The UAE has set a goal to reduce food waste by 50% in the next ten years, hoping that residents will contribute to this objective by agreeing to change certain habits. They announced that, on average, 197kg of food is wasted per resident each year, and this number does not take into account what is being thrown away in the hospitality industry.
There are certain policies adopted by the hospitality sector around the world that has positively contributed to reducing food waste. Some of the policies include selling “ugly” produce at lower prices to avoid throwing them out. Not only does this provide more accessible fresh produce, but it also significantly decreases the amount of food discarded. In addition, it’s also key to educate the community on why some of the produce look different: it could be the consequence of harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, results of the post-harvest processes, transportation, etc.
Another concept that could greatly reduce food waste is the way food is served in restaurants. In fact, according to Gulfood Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence techniques are currently being developed to slash food waste by 50% by 2030, and will help measure the amounts of foods being discarded in commercial kitchens every day. Artificial Intelligence can provide data to chefs and managers, allowing them to re-evaluate precise kitchen processes.
Other changes can consist of restricting buffets, reducing meal portions, sourcing more local ingredients, etc. Additionally, it’s important to spread awareness on why it’s important to understand where your food is coming from, and be more mindful of how much is being discarded every day.
Composting is a great way to reduce food waste at home. Lifestyle habits can be modified to contribute to this global goal of reducing food waste. Decreasing the amount of unnecessary foods we bring home from the grocery store, or finding better ways to discard the additional foods, either through donations or composting, are all simple changes that can be done today.