The Sunday Times says

Think of both taste and waste

The path from farm to table is a woeful trail of avoidable food wastage all must face up to expeditiously. Chew on this, if you will: It's unconscionable to trash almost a third of food meant for humans in a world of 870 million chronically hungry people.

It's economically unsound to let farmers' incomes be eroded by waste and let consumers spend more than they ought to. It goes against green efforts to tolerate the sub-optimal use of land and water when produce is discarded, and the needless carbon emissions from processing and disposing wasted food.

And it runs counter to food security initiatives of nations when their people turn a blind eye to this common phenomenon. According to the World Resources Report, "reducing food loss and waste could be one of the leading global strategies for achieving a sustainable food future".

Ironically, Singaporeans who place great value on food threw away 788,600 tonnes of it last year. This might be due to habits shaped by diehard preferences, the way food is packaged and served, its wide availability and its relative affordability. Thus, it will clearly take a multi-pronged effort to change old food mindsets.

Rather than adopting a big stick approach, one should nudge more businesses to emulate FairPrice's conservation efforts. Industry players should collaborate by developing a protocol to track food waste reduction, display both perfect and blemished-looking food, discount products when use-by dates approach, donate and recycle unconsumed food, and share best practices.

Whether a staunch foodie or careful eater, Singaporeans can contribute by cherishing, while relishing, every morsel of the food before them.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 23, 2015, with the headline 'Think of both taste and waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe