A recent report on the BBC by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers stating that, “half of the world’s food is thrown away” has inspired many heated responses from retail and governmental sectors alike. Is it true? From the volume of voices now in the debate, the exact statistics don’t really matter – the important point is that a new dialogue has now been created around the issue of food waste.
This is a hot topic that is increasingly taking centre stage in the press. Top high street UK brands like M&S and Morrisons have already been quick to keep up with the public’s desire for fairtrade, ecological and recyclable products. This comes at an opportune time, because the smart brands can make money and win public trust – and, hopefully, stay in it for the long haul. The damning report was a cautionary tale that the change must come from up high, with Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, saying: “Governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN need to work to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices.” But surely this is a battle that must equally be fought at street level, with retail and branding and effective consumer communication as well.
It was encouraging to read another article at the same time, highlighting a successful New York food delivery service that is using up-to-the-minute tracking technology in order to guarantee timely deliveries and cut food wastage. This is another new frontier in the fight to keep cost down and help the environment; and more businesses are turning to technology to help make this a reality. A holistic approach to the problem must be in place, because with the population continuing to escalate and global weather patterns becoming more unpredictable, the price of food will only increase in the future.