Food waste is a global issue, with high-income and low to middle-income countries experiencing different patterns of waste. In high-income regions, a significant portion of food waste occurs at the consumer level, while in low- to middle-income regions, it often occurs during production, transportation, and storage. In 2024, Spain’s government intends to introduce a new law on the prevention of food waste and encourage businesses to collaborate in the donation of surplus food. This is in line with the EU’s plans to significantly reduce food waste by 2030 as part of a global and national commitment to more sustainable and conscious practices.
In line with this new legislation, MumAbroad founder Carrie Frais challenges us all in the Western world to be less wasteful of our food in 2024 and beyond.
Who knew the hardest part of being an adult (replace with ‘woman’) was figuring out what you had to cook every night until you died?
Cooking is not exactly my forte. I was brought up by a feminist who was keen not to be a role model mother tied to the kitchen stove, so she tended to rotate three well-known recipes from the first British celebrity cook Delia Smith – macaroni cheese, lentil soup and some soya/honey soaked spare ribs recipe. Dessert would inevitably consist of a banana or on ‘treat’ nights my brother and I threw the powder of a ready mix chocolate or strawberry blancmange into a bowl and mixed it with full-fat milk. Most of it was eaten before it got to the fridge. Those of you who were students at UK Universities in the 80s and 90s may remember the staple foods of tuna pasta, baked beans in baked potatoes and canned soup. Hardly the most creative of meals. It was just about sustenance in those days.
When my kids came along I began to realise the importance of family meals that everyone could eat together – preferably at the same time – but as we developed our own eating preferences (no meat, only white meat, only fatty fish, no veg for the vegetarian daughter etc), mealtimes have become increasingly complicated and the prep a little too drawn out for my liking.
I love the concept of buying fresh produce every day and creating a healthy dish using local ingredients but the reality is that too much of that produce gets thrown out at the end of the week (or the dog gets overfed, again). In a world where dying of starvation is still a reality, I find it mind-boggling that a third (yes a third) of all food produced every week is wasted and is consequently one of the major contributors to climate change thanks to the resultant potent methane gas, deforestation, transportation emissions and squandering of water use, not to mention the landfills packed with non-biodegradable food packaging.
Mothers/women are (very) busy and more so today when we are challenged by the impossible juggle (struggle) of work and domestic life. We don’t have time to meticulously plan weekly meals so that every morsel of food is consumed. That is why I love fresh food delivery companies like Hello Fresh! and the new ‘Let’s Cook’* both of which help you with your weekly meal planning, introduce you to new healthy recipes, bring out our inner chef and most importantly ensure there is no food waste by selecting the exact measures of ingredients so nothing is left over.
Waste not, want not is a powerful proverb that has been in use for hundreds of years, challenging us to conserve resources. This year, please let’s put it to good use.
*Let’s Cook are offering the MumAbroad community 25% off their first weekly order using the discount code MUMABROAD.
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