AT THE STORE
The way we shop and what we expect of grocers may mean certain food items are destined for the bin - even before we buy them. Here are a few common ways food gets wasted at the store - some of which we can quite easily avoid.
DISPLAYS JUST FOR SHOW
Full, bountiful displays of food make us more likely to buy. Displays are therefore stuffed with more products than can be sold, to maximize visual appeal and sales opportunities. This includes thawed seafood and meat which cannot be re-frozen if they are not sold. This all adds up to a huge quantity of leftover products that will need to be thrown away.
Whether it’s poor planning, succumbing to special offers or simply not wanting to make multiple grocery runs, many shoppers tend to buy too much food. As a result, many home fridges and kitchens are filled with forgotten food simply waiting to be tossed in the bin.
Rough handling as we choose produce will literally ruin them for other shoppers, meaning they cannot be sold and must be discarded.
Most people tend to avoid food with odd shapes or discolorations even though they’re just as nutritious as their normal-looking counterparts. Because of this, many retailers set aesthetic standards for produce, and won’t even buy wonky-looking ones from farmers.
It means tons of perfectly good produce are discarded at farms. And the small number that which make it onto grocery displays sit untouched, waiting to be tossed as well.
If consumers as a whole are more accepting of produce which looks different, and retailers are more prepared to sell it than we’re used to, a lot of this waste can be avoided.
Sometimes retailers offer deals to clear produce with a short shelf-life. They may also be trying to shift items which aren’t selling. Either way, it often gets us to buy food we don’t really need and end up not consuming.