The Global Food Waste Crisis: A Small Step Makes a Big Difference

a lady looking into an open fridge

“Approximately 50% of all food may be lost between the field and our forks” (Lundqvist et al, 2008).

As this shocking figure demonstrates, Food Waste Levels are at an alarming high and under the ever-increasing scrutiny of the global spotlight. In the UK alone, 4.4 million tonnes of “avoidable” food waste is disposed of every year (WRAP, 2015). Within Europe, Household Food Waste accounts for 42% of the continents food waste, surpassing waste levels created within manufacturing, catering and retail sectors (Gjerres and Gaiani, 2013).

So, what is causing these waste levels from households? Date Labels have been the most commonly blamed factor, with the combination of “Use-By”, “Sell-By” and “Display Until” labels leaving consumers perplexed and scratching their heads. 45% of UK adults admit to not understanding the term “Best-Before”, whilst 49% do not understand the term “Best-By” (Parfitt et al, 2010). More recently however, food going bad once it has been opened has played a significant part in rising Household Food Waste levels. The British public have a “high sensitivity to food hygiene” (WRAP, 2007) meaning the “Sniff and Taste” tests for open foods will no longer suffice.

The technological innovation provided by the UWI label provides the consumer with the clearest indication of a food’s integrity once it has been opened. Green is safe to eat, Red is no good. Universally understood by adults and children alike, the UWI label is a cost-effective measure for making sure your produce is 100% safe to consume. The label is automatically activated once the product is opened, “leaving no room for human error”. Alongside the obvious health benefits, the financial implications are another positive outcome the UWI label can provide. Recent literature has shown that UK households waste approximately £470 per year by way of “avoidable food waste” (BBC, 2017).  

“Socially, it is a scandal that people are going hungry and using food banks when so much produce is being wasted and environmentally, it is a disaster, because energy and resources are wasted in production only for the food to end up rotting in landfills where it produces methane – a potent climate-changing gas.” (BBC, 2017).

The time for action is now. One small step can make a big difference. That step is the UWI Label.

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