The Food Waste blame game

All week there has been a flap going on in the UK media regarding an unpublished, and extremely small, study from the Sustainable Food Institute at the University of Manchester which purports to put some of the blame for food waste on celebrity chefs. The way the argument seems to go is that celebrity chefs, writing in cook books and magazines, put so much pressure on heads of households to serve freshly cooked food that leftovers and more processed foods are being ignored and thrown away.

GallonDaily would not normally write about as yet unpublished research but this one is getting so much coverage, and is so much a follow-up to our recent Gallon Environment Letter feature on food waste, that we bent the rule to highlight the draft findings. But a study based on the behaviour of 19 households still seems to GallonDaily to be a bit weak on real science.

The findings of this draft report, that society should make it socially acceptable or even desirable for people to eat the same meal several nights in a row and/or to use frozen vegetables, seem to GallonDaily to make sense. The concluding finding, that waste is a problem but we need to tackle it differently and not lay the blame at the door of consumers, is one that GallonDaily generally endorses. We would add our own advice, that cooking food for a single household from scratch in a home kitchen is one of the most environmentally and energy inefficient ways to prepare food. This is a topic we will be addressing in a future Gallon Environment Letter.

The outline report from the Sustainable Food Institute can be found at http://www.sci.manchester.ac.uk/news-events/news/food-waste-dont-let-celebrity-chefs-play-the-blame-game

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