Our guilt over food waste

For many, the idea of wasting food is a scandal. Throughout most of human history we had to work hard to eat, either by hunter-gathering or later through the crop-growing.

In recent decades, news coverage of famines has given moral backing to parents admonishing children refusing to eat all the food on their plate. Hunger hasn’t gone away – around 690 million people globally go to bed hungry every night and can’t afford a healthy diet – yet we’re producing more food than ever before. Clearly, the moral imperative isn’t helping our overindulgence.

Some suggest that guilt might not be as good a driver of change as good old-fashioned self-interest of saving money: “Not [throwing away] food can save an average family with children over [973 dollars] a year.”

The UK’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign shares household and shopping tips on better fridge management and encourages the public to be creative with an array of leftover recipes.

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