Simpler ways to reduce food wastage

Food stalls at coffee shops and foodcourts have a similar problem where unsold food is often discarded at the end of a business day.
Food stalls at coffee shops and foodcourts have a similar problem where unsold food is often discarded at the end of a business day.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

We can start small to tackle the issue of food waste before thinking big to overhaul the food supply chain (Overhaul in food supply chain needed, says study, Aug 28).

For a start, the packaging of food items at major supermarkets can be divided into smaller portions, especially for perishable products, like pre-packed fresh meat and vegetables.

Unlike in wet markets where such perishables are sold in loose quantities which allows you to buy what you need, you do not have that flexibility in supermarkets.

This can often result in wastage if such perishables are not consumed on time.

Second, there are certain housing estates that allow residents to donate excess perishables by depositing them into a fridge while they are still edible. Such foods can then be freely taken by needy residents in the area.

Such an initiative helps to reduce food wastage while promoting the spirit of communal sharing.

Third, let's tackle the major sources of cooked food waste. These include hotels which serve buffets.

Often, dishes are cooked in excess to avoid shortage and hence customer dissatisfaction. Even at functions, such as meetings and conventions or weddings, there would usually be a lot of leftover food.

If such leftover food is not being channelled to the needy, due to concerns over food safety and liability issues, it is food wastage.

Food stalls at coffee shops and foodcourts have a similar problem where unsold food is often discarded at the end of a business day.

If the issue of liability over food safety can be addressed (which the Singapore Food Agency is looking into), then such food can be channelled to the needy without going to waste.

If we can tackle the basic sources of food waste and reduce it, the current level of food waste can be reduced significantly without any major overhaul.

Victor Tan Thiam Siew