Our First Food Waste Campaign

We’re happy to announce that we’ve started our first Food waste campaign at Froodly! In partnership with K-Supermarket Kaisaniemi, we have created a Facebook group that will contain daily updates for members to see the discounted products that will be at the supermarket. The Facebook group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/froodlykaisaniemi/. Feel free to join and help us reduce food waste and save money!

Froodly's first food waste campaign
The daily discounts can be found on the campaign’s Facebook group

Food Waste and the Growing Water Scarcity Problem

The future outlook is not bright, seeing as California only has approximately a year’s worth of water left in its reserves, and while 1,2 billion people around the world lack access to clean water, the UN estimates that two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in water stressed conditions by 2025. With the on-going news of water droughts throughout the world, from California to India, there has been some talk of how much water we really have access to, and when we will really start running out.

Not only are we not returning the water we’re exploiting, but some of the water that does get put back is being polluted by the harsh conditions and chemical products present above ground, from things like fertilizers and industrial waste. This is an important issue when talking about food waste, as 70-80% of the global water consumption every year goes toward agriculture. The IME has stated that water requirements could need to increase by up to three times the current use by 2050. But is our water consumption sustainable enough for this to even be achieved? In some places, 20 times more water is being pumped out of the ground than is being put back in, providing an unsustainable situation. Just take a look at the San Joaquin Valley in California as an example, where we’re seeing the ground in the area begin to sink, a product of us not refilling the underground water aquifers.

Agriculture is by far the biggest consumer of water, and the fact that it takes 15,415 litres of water to make only 1kg of beef shows how inefficient our food production is, especially while we’re so unsure of how to feed the world population’s growing need for water. The FAO estimates that food waste alone uses 25% of our yearly water consumption, and is something that must be avoided to feed this growing need for water. You can start helping to chip away at the problem today by being conscious of food waste and doing your part to minimize it.

Lake Mead's Water Scarcity
Lake Mead is a perfect visual of the growing water scarcity in the Western US.

What do the different food labels mean?

A large amount of everyday food waste could be avoided if consumers knew what the date labels on food products actually meant. There seems to be some confusion amongst many (including ourselves) as to what the different dates mean, and often leads to unnecessary food waste that could’ve been avoided. The ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ labels are required by a law passed by the European Parliament in 2000, however the ‘display until’ or ‘sell by’ labels are not regulated and are simply put in place to help the retailers with stock control.

Use By

The ‘use by’ date is one that is required by law for producers to place on the label for foods that are considered highly perishable, such as raw meat, fish, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables.

It is illegal to sell these foods after the ‘use by’ date, and consumers should not consume these products after the marked date, for health and safety reasons, even if the product looks and smells fine.

Best Before

The ‘best before’ date, which is also required by law to be displayed on products, is an indicator of the quality of the food in terms of its taste, texture, aroma and appearance. If stored according to the package guidelines, the product will be at its best in these areas until the day after the ‘best before’ date.

Food should be safe for some time after the ‘best before’ date, however it begins to slowly diminish in quality from this day forward. Food retailers are legally allowed to sell products after their ‘best before’ date, however they must meet certain EU expectations.

Display Until/Sell By

‘Display Until’ and ‘Sell By’ labels are not required by law, and are simply used as a guide for food retailers and their employees to help with stock rotation. The problem with these dates is that many consumers (we’re guilty of this ourselves unfortunately!) don’t look at the name above the date, and see that the product is passed the date and immediately throw it away. Unfortunately, almost all of these instances are times when products that were just fine for consumption were thrown into the garbage.

The Problem with Agricultural Deforestation

On the heels of an informative debate about Zero Deforestation put on by Business Green, today’s short blog post will quickly cover the usage of land in agriculture, and how wasting up to 40% of the food that this land produces is severely harming our planet.

Deforestation in Agriculture

As more agricultural production is needed (or thought to be needed) to feed the growing number of people on Earth, and their changing eating habits, deforestation has become the norm to accommodate new agricultural areas. Deforestation is a major problem in these days and is attributed as a large cause of climate change. Without these forests, there are far less trees and plants to perform the photosynthesis we need to produce fresh air. It’s estimated that agriculture is responsible for about 75% of the deforestation seen every year.

Why deforestation isn’t the answer

As the global population increases, there’s a false sense that more deforestation is needed to allow for more agricultural production. The problem with this is that we’re cutting down forests when our current agricultural production (or less than the current total) could easily feed the entire global population, with room to spare. The FAO reported that approximately 1,4 billion hectares of land, a bigger size than Canada and India combined, were used to produce food that was never eaten. We need to make use of the land we’re already using, instead of venturing off to find new land. Another issue is the increasing demand for meat products. A hectare of land used to produce meat can feed 1-2 people in a year, while one that harvests rice or potatoes could feed 19-22.

This shows the increasingly inefficient use of our land, and we’re trying to solve this problem by chopping down more forests or polluting our land and water with ample amounts of fertilizer and other toxic substances. This is not the answer. We need to face this problem from the bottom up, and tell the entire food chain that we need to use our existing resources more efficiently.

Amazon Deforesation
The devastating deforestation seen in the Amazon rainforest is just one example of the growing problem. Source: NASA Earth Observatory