In the previous blog I analyzed the reasons of food waste. Food might losses in every stage of Food Supply Chain (FSC). There are several roles in FSC but the most important roles are producers, retailers and consumers. This blog will stand at these positions and analyze how to alleviate waste phenomenon which is severe social problem. At the same time, the political interventions are the vital solution of food waste.
1 Food production system
Food waste occurs at different stages in the FSC. Most of the public think when the retail and consumer discard the food then food are wasted. However Gustavsson show the food waste in different stages in different countries. Food losses mainly occurs the early FSC in low income countries, while, in high and medium areas a great deal of foods are wasted in general at the end of FSC. (Gustavsson et al. 2011) Therefore, during the process of agricultural outputs food are wasted as well. Half of all food grown is lost or wasted before and after it reaches the consumers. (Lundqvist et al. 2008) This estimate is admitted by most the public although it is hard to prove because of limited data. It gives us an enlightenment to highlight the food production system though.
Improve the food quality which is a significant solution of food loss. Farmers need to guarantee the suitable environments to grow foods. Many farmers throw the crop away because the food is blemished or broken. Thus, farmers need to control humidity and temperature which is fitting for crops growing. Also, how to prevent foods from rodents, parasites and fungus is valuable to think about. Technical, as well as economic supports are necessary. With the support of the economy and technology, high-quality foods would be produced and it is therefore reducing food loss in the first stage of FSC.
Packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste as well. Williams indicates that packaging affects food waste in households although is usually scarce. (Williams el at 2012) As a consequence, suitable packing needs to be emphasized.
2 Distribution and markets
Food loss in distribution process is easy to be solved once people pay attentions. On the other hand, market is complex. A certain amount of food in supermarkets is deemed loss because of moisture loss, spoilage, and other causes. (Buzby, 2009) It is therefore important to change the storage conditions such as chilling sensitive food and heat sensitive food need to control the temperature. Poor environmental condition during display in supermarkets and retail store is the main reason of retail loss.
On the angle of supermarket and retail, the goal is profits by selling food. However, some measures of promoting consumption contrary to saving food. For example, supermarket would like to use ‘buy two and get one free’. As a customer whose needs maybe just one but he or she might buy two because it is cheaper. Then food would be discarded probably because it is too much to eat. What customers buy is beyond their demand. How to balance the promoting consumption and food loss is an issue considered by society.
When we eat a buffet and leave food in the dishes, we would be fined probably according to the amount we waste. This is the measure restaurant in order to reduce wastes. It is a good idea. I agree with it but I doubt that restaurants have rights to charge extra money from consumers. Consumers may have rights to deal with the products after buying. I suggest that there might be more suitable to punish people who waste foods.
As far as many authors concerned, consumers are the most group accounting for food waste. Lack of planning, quality standard and best-before dates causes the food waste in high income counties.( Boyland 2015) Consumers are the most important roles in waste reduction from my point of view. Consumers are not passive recipients of food. Changing the consumers’ behavior could reduce the most waste from root.
There are several solutions to address waste issue. The first is raise citizen’s awareness. A Great number of UK householders do not know the current situation and seriousness of waste. By actions of advocating, raise citizen’s awareness would be an effective approach. For instance, the action ‘Love food hate waste’ in UK had a great advocacy function in terms of publics. Great number of UK householders chose to throw foods away because of best-before-dates which is different from use-by-date; actually food may still be good to eat yet. Thus, householders need to be equipped the knowledge of waste as well as the abilities to deal with food. Such as keeping and finding creative culinary uses for leftovers. In addition, householders are suggested to list a plan when they go to the supermarket and it maybe prevent over consumption.
4 Policy interventions
The management of food waste involves policies. Food waste can’t be conceptualized as a problem of individual consumer behaviors but a social problem because of the astonishing level of food waste all over the world. Matt Watson and Angela Meah focus on a particular research and argue that interventions to reduce food waste can be enhanced by evaluating how food becomes waste. Food waste has had a late but rapid ascendancy in public policy. ( Watson et.al 2013)
Also, other organizations such as NGO have strong influence on saving food. NGO could enhance the collaboration with stakeholder organization and help specific sector to minimize the food waste.