Mufutau Muyiwa - Oct 11, 2019

How the Government and media can help reduce food waste

The consumers are the focal point in the complex cycle of food production, storage and supply, in what is today a money-spinning industry. Consequently, it is rational for stakeholders to devote adequate (human and financial) resources to inform the public about the socio-economic, environmental, ethical, moral and cost-saving benefits of food waste/loss reduction. The public across national boundaries must first recognize the problem and then converge to stimulate concrete individual and collective action to eliminate food waste.

How the government can help reduce food waste

A solution to the food waste crisis is embedded in a carrot and stick approach. The logic here is to provide incentives to reward conformity and apply subtle punitive measures as deterrence against food waste. Other countries could import lessons from Denmark, given that the country’s supermarkets have imbibed a culture of offering discounts on food nearing its expiration. We must equally create a functional model that dissolves the gap between low income earning consumers and stores willing to sell discounted food items that would have been disposed of France offers a template on how regulations can serve as a tool to fight food waste by restraining supermarkets from disposing or destroying unsold food.

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The French passage of the supermarket waste law will serve as a turning point in the agitations for major supermarkets to donate to charities and food banks, rather than dispose of food. This approach can be stretched to retail stores that store more than is necessary and end up disposing of a large fraction of unsold food. The digitalization of the supply chain can help retailers make accurate purchasing decisions, which is a product of key indicators like sales history, sales patterns, psychographic variables, demographic characteristics and other metrics.

 

The Media in the Fight against Food Waste

The media exercise a natural and fundamental role of providing information and educating society. The role of the mass and social media are crucial in the fight against food waste. Stakeholders across the entire value chain must court the media because mass-mediated communication can be the catalyst for behaviour change and action. The media must recognize global food waste is a matter of national and global interest. The hypothesis here is: the more food waste becomes a media agenda, the more likely the problem will assume a truly global dimension. Similarly, social media can simultaneously serve as an effective platform and instrument to stimulate behaviour change and reduce consumers’ food waste.

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The Role of Technology

New technologies like the AI trash can will be crucial in warfare against food waste. The “home biogas system” serves as an example of how technological innovations and inventions can help decongest the landfills that pollute our environment. The “home biogas system” is a mechanism that dissolves and converts food waste into clean natural gas, which could provide 3 hours of energy from a day’s amount of waste. Similarly, national governments and can take a cue from South-Korea, by implementing smart bins, which is a volume-based food waste fee system that charge (according to weight) of food disposed of. The premise is that incurring fees for wasting food may induce a change in the global attitude and could serve as an effective instrument to address the food waste crisis.

Written by Mufutau Muyiwa

Mufutau is a marketing professional, writer & researcher

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