The Global Food Waste Crisis, A Problem We Can't Afford to Ignore

March 27, 2024

As we fight with the, not so shocking reality of over a billion meals wasted daily while millions go hungry, it’s time to acknowledge a critical factor in this crisis: the role of parents in shaping our and their children’s attitudes towards food and waste.

Households worldwide wasted over 1 billion meals each day in 2022, even as 783 million people fight with hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s a damning accusation of our collective failure to address the rise of food waste.

The findings of the UNEP report, co-authored with WRAP, serve as a wake-up call to parents everywhere. In 2022 alone, a shocking 1.05 billion tonnes of food were wasted globally. And not so shockingly, a significant portion of this waste, which is 60 per cent, to be exact, occurred at the household level.

Parents, we have a responsibility that goes beyond just putting meals on the table. We are the first teachers our children have when it comes to values and behaviors, including how we approach food. Yet, too often, we unintentionally contribute to the problem of food waste through our actions and attitudes.

Think about it: how many times have we bought more groceries than we need, only to let them spoil in the fridge? How often do we serve our children oversized portions, knowing full well they won’t finish them? And how many times have we tossed out perfectly good leftovers because we couldn’t be bothered to eat them?

It’s time for a change. We need to lead by example and show our children the importance of respecting food and minimizing waste. This means shopping mindfully, planning meals thoughtfully, and using up what we have before it goes bad. It means teaching our kids to appreciate the value of food and the effort that goes into producing it.

But it’s not just about what we do at home, it’s also about advocating for change beyond our own four walls. We need to support policies and businesses that prioritize reducing waste and making nutritious food accessible to all. We need to speak up and demand action from our leaders to address this crisis head-on.

By taking these steps, we can make a real difference in the fight against food waste. We can ensure that future generations grow up with a deeper understanding of the importance of food and a greater sense of responsibility towards our planet and each other.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Together, as parents and as global citizens, we can build a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

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