Food Faddism Leads to Food Waste

Food faddism leads to food waste
CALGARY AB, Sep 15, 2014/ Troy Media/

Is your grocery money going to the landfill? It may be your ‘healthy lifestyle” that’s to blame.

According to the Value Change Management Centre, over $27 billion worth of Canadian food winds up in the garbage instead of in our stomachs. Every year.

We like to blame people with penchants for 24/7 fast food and the minority of grocery chains which still throw out food as it nears its expiry date instead of donating it to local food banks. But it’s not all their fault.

Poor kitchen management is often to blame for food waste. The David Suzuki Foundation puts it this way: In Toronto, the average single-family household throws out about 275 kilos of food every year. That’s one in four food purchases (one quarter of your grocery budget) going in the trash can.

Those of us who love fresh, local and sustainable eating often contribute to the problem. The sumptuous displays at farmers markets, organic food stores, and bulk food outlets look so delicious that it is tempting to buy more than we can cook before the lettuce wilts. Worse yet, we cook huge pots that languish in the back of the fridge growing mould once we tire of our kitchen masterpieces.

Make no mistake. I am a big fan of the farmers markets. This week, on my way to do some book research, I discovered a farmers’ market hidden away on the University of Lethbridge campus. Following the signs, I found a ballroom full of irresistible fall veggies, B.C. fruit, Hutterite breads, warm empanadas, and fresh cut flowers. I wound up working with three bags piled up by my side.

I am not about throw the money I spent picking pricey produce into the garbage can, however. About half of those fresh local veggies will wind up in my freezer. I’ll get to enjoy them long into the winter. But without the freezer compartment on my fridge, my veggie habit would wilt my grocery budget.

But if a media report I heard the other day is an accurate reflection, many supposedly smart Canadians would rather chuck the cabbage than throw it in the freezer.

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