Book, stay, enjoy. That's

Thursday 21 December 2023

Why we need to re-think our relationship with food

Australians need to re-think their behaviour when it comes to wasting food, a leading expert says.

Entertainment, parties and eating out are all in vogue as we approach the holiday season, but more mindfulness is needed to avoid edible leftovers being binned.

“We all like to cook, buy and take large amounts of food in this festive season, both as hosts and guests and many people think it is better to have too much food than not enough," says Dr Bhavna Middha, Research Fellow, College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University.

“But our shared practices need to be put under scrutiny, as they can often lead to extravagant food waste.

“Food waste is an endemic issue in Australia. A total of 7.3 million tonnes of food are wasted in Australia per year, which has significant environmental consequences.

“Reducing food waste could save the average family between $2,200 to $3,800 per year.

“But merely informing householders about food waste is not an adequate strategy to bring about change in everyday routines and activities.

“Here’s where we can start to improve our contribution to food waste:
# Stop over-catering: we need to rethink how much food we supply and to accept that the food should be finished or suitably distributed by the end of events.
# Limit bulk-buying: structural issues such as price gouging by supermarkets as well as how everyday convenience is constructed through bulk buying needs to be investigated to determine how bulk buying is reduced beyond special times.
#Understand food longevity: we need a better understanding of what kind of food ages well or badly in storage and use foods before they reach their recommended best before dates.

“Additionally, many of us don’t particularly know how long to keep leftovers in the fridge if we do want to save them for later.

Our research found that 17% of fridges in Australian households were too cold or too warm for food storage. This means that the food we buy and store, fresh or leftover, is prone to wastage, especially if the fridge is inefficient.

“These findings point to larger questions of relationships between food provisioning, eating and refrigerators and how these (mis)connections may be contributing to global food waste.”

Bhavna Middha's research focuses on exploring everyday shared practices around food, waste and energy in the context of sustainable consumption.

Image: Bernardo Dadic, 

No comments:

Post a Comment