Hunger is a pervasive issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide. In Australia alone, over two million households went hungry in the last 12 months due to lack of funds, with some skipping meals or even going whole days without eating. In addition, 1.3 million Australian children lived in severely food-insecure households in the last year. In honour of World Hunger Day, this article will provide an exploration into how food waste drives up hunger, alongside three ways in which you can help to reduce it.
The Impact of Food Waste on Hunger
While there are many factors that contribute to hunger, food waste is a significant contributor. According to research, the majority of all food waste in Australia comes from our homes, accounting for 2.5 million tonnes. Unfortunately, this waste has far-reaching implications that go beyond ecological concerns. When food is wasted, it not only harms the environment and wastes resources, it also drives up the cost of food, making it more difficult for low-income households to afford nutritious meals.
The rising cost of living is worsening the situation dramatically. Research commissioned by SecondBite in 2022 found that more than 75% of their agencies are seeing increased demand for food relief. Families and individuals who have never previously required assistance – those in regular, ongoing work – are seeking food relief as their household budgets simply don’t stretch far enough to cover rent increases, fuel hikes and skyrocketing utility bills.
The cost of food waste is therefore not just an economic issue; it is also a social one. Those who are already struggling to put food on the table are hit the hardest by rising food prices. This can lead to a vicious cycle of poverty and hunger, where low-income households are forced to spend a significant portion of their income on food, leaving little for other necessities.
By reducing our food waste, we can help ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food while also protecting the planet. Here are a few ways to help:
3 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
- Plan meals and shop intentionally
Planning meals ahead of time and shopping with a specific list can help reduce food waste. When you buy only what you need, you are less likely to let food go to waste. Moreover, meal planning can help you make healthier choices by ensuring that you are stocking up on nutritious ingredients.
- Store food properly
Correct storage can help prolong the life of food and prevent spoilage. Understanding how to store different types of food and using storage containers can help keep food fresh longer. Consider investing in a reusable produce bag like Veggie Saver, which is scientifically proven to help fruit and vegetables last for 2 weeks or more. With longer lasting produce, you’ll no longer find yourself throwing any in the trash. You will additionally save money and tihowme with less trips to the shops needed. What’s more is that Veggie Saver is 100% natural, non-toxic and compostable! So it’s a huge win for the environment too.
- Use leftovers creatively
Leftovers can be repurposed into new meals, reducing food waste and saving money. Additionally, using a compost bin to dispose of food scraps can help reduce waste while also providing valuable nutrients for the soil. Another way to use leftovers is to freeze them for later use. Your future self will be grateful as this can particularly come in handy on busy weeknights when you don’t have time to cook from scratch!
These are just a few ways that we can all make a difference. Let’s work together to reduce food waste and build a healthier and more sustainable future for all.