Leave no fruit and veg behind in the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables!
2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables - a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role that fruits and vegetables play not just in nutrition and food security, but also in curbing food loss and waste.
Preventing food loss and waste for fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are vital parts of healthy and nutritious diets. Maintaining the quality of this fresh produce and ensuring their safe handling across the supply chain (from production to consumption) is important for food security. It also means that we are not wasting the resources that go into producing them. Losses in fruits and vegetables represent a waste of resources likesoil, water, energy and labour.
A sobering truth is that around 449 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables don’t manage to leave the farm each year. Fragile and highly perishable, they need to be carefully handled and stored. This often isn’t the case and up to 50% produced in developing countries are lost between harvest and consumption. Significant quantities that are perfectly fit for consumption are also diverted or disposed of because of their physical irregularities.
Respect food from farm to table
What can we do about this as consumers?
We can help prevent waste by buying imperfect-looking fruit and vegetables, which are perfectly edible and nutritious. ‘Don’t judge a boo
k by its cover’ is applicable to our weekly trips to the grocer too! Many supermarkets are beginning to offer special ‘ugly food’ products, while apps are helping to connect excess supply from farmers with eco-friendly consumers. Even in our homes, there are many opportunities to minimise food waste. A lot of produce is sold in packaged bundles, encouraging consumers to buy more than they need, while it can also seem much easier to let a perishable piece of fruit expire than an expensive cut of meat. Prevent waste by storing fruit and vegetables properly and having dedicated days in the week to use up expiring ingredients. You can also freeze those on the way out for smoothies or stocks. There are also community-focused apps like Olio that allow you to donate your expiring fruit and vegetables (and other food) to neighbours.
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International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste
The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste will be observed on the 29th of September and it is the perfect time to put these tips to practice! Every effort counts! Let’s do our part to prevent food loss and waste and contribute to healthier people and a healthier planet!