Do our part to curb food wastage

Hotels should be more amenable to requests to take away leftover food, as suggested by Ms Neoh Sue Lynn (Hotel should not promote wasting food; Forum Online, June 13).

In the broader scheme of things, the issue of food wastage is highly pertinent to Singapore.

Data from various sources indicates that developed countries generate more waste than developing countries.

In North America and Europe, edible food waste reaches 280kg to 300kg per capita per year, while in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-east Asia, it is between 120kg and 170kg per capita per year.

The need for prompt action is evident.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, about half of global food wastage can be attributed to pre-consumption losses, such as unsold stock or the disposal of "non-aesthetic" fruits and vegetables.

Wholesalers, grocers and supermarkets can do their part to minimise these forms of wastage, perhaps by selling "unattractive" produce at discounted prices or donating food supplies to charity, instead of throwing them away.

Restaurants could also revive the once-common practice of selling unused items at deeply discounted prices for takeaway patrons - I recall many family feasts in the 1950s and 1960s where the main dish was a homemade stew of such leftovers.

Consumers can do their part by keeping tabs on their grocery shopping and managing portion sizes when dining out.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline 'Do our part to curb food wastage'. Print Edition | Subscribe