Apparently Australian households squander about 350kg of food every year. In fact, it is said that 20% of food purchased in
is wasted, this equates to a staggering $8 billion dollars or 4,000,000 tonnes
of food per year! Australia
Though the reasons of this are manifold, an emerging understanding that the influence of cooking shows is bearing down and exacerbating the wastage problem as people try to emulate the prefect results they observe on the tellie.
Professional kitchens at the high end of the eating spectrum have always tended to be wasteful especially when it comes to portioning proteins and trimming vegetables. The reasoning behind this is twofold, firstly to highlight the usage of the best bits and secondly to present aesthetically pleasing vegies.
I can personally attest to the thousands of carrots, turnips, swedes and potatoes that I have ‘turned’ over the years before the practice became unfashionable. Not to mention the fields of broccoli, cabbage, lettuces and spinach that I had trimmed for the bits deemed choice by the chef.
The best way one can determine the difference between ‘high table’ food and home cooked meals besides the price is the fact the for the most part, the vegies seem to be more or less left in tact in the latter. At the RVL, all our green waste, food scraps and table-leftovers (except pork) is kept aside for a pair of lucky pigs. Other green waste is put into our compost tumbler and we rarely throw out food due to use by dates or spoilage and generally only have paper wastage from packaging.
In addition, the ‘use by’ date phenomenon has much to answer for the high yields of food wastage. Personally I’ve always understood this mechanism to be a caveat against possible litigation should the consumer become ill after consuming a product due to an unreasonably long time passing after purchase.
I’ve also become aware of the cynical means of manipulating consumers by getting them to unnecessarily discard out of date products and then purchase more to replace them. Also I reckon the ‘just in time’ protocols of supermarkets and other retailers provide in distributing produce has supplemented the problem by creating a ‘finite’ amount of product at any given time, there bye embroidering a bit of urgency into the food shopping experience.
In yesterdays paper a farmer was photographed holding a bunch of carrots that were too big and ugly apparently for the supermarkets to sell. They were due be left unpicked and hoed back into the soil.
This sits alongside the pictures of great hangers filled with rotting produce from around the globe destined for waste because they are deemed unsuitable for a number of reasons.
How ridiculous and exasperating that this occurs.
As I look guiltily over the contents of my own kitchen cupboard at home I understand that the average Australian household has enough food at any given time to feed a family of four for a month!
Don’t know about you but I’m gonna try to use all of the food in my cupboard before I buy more.