Sunday, 5 May 2013

Food Waste and Bare Naked Laziness - South Shropshire Journal (3/5/13)

You’ve probably gathered by now, that I’m not that hot on in-depth research. That’s what proper journalists do. Researching. And whilst I suppose I am a proper journalist (I write stuff in a newspaper, ergo I’m a proper journalist), I don’t consider myself as such. So gathering facts and quotes and general noteworthy hunks of journalistic hardcore is just not something I do. Let’s be honest, I’m lazy. Naked industry simply doesn’t number itself in my arsenal of attributes.

But, in a convenient Muhammad-meeting-the-mountain fashion, some research came to me a few days ago by way of a press release from which is apparently a women’s lifestyle website offering “practical tips and advice for busy mums…” It may not be a real website, I haven’t been bothered to find out but they threw some interesting nuggets in my direction which apparently they’d pinched from the Office of National Statistics. The general gist being thus:

Food prices have risen by 12% in the last five years; over the same period household income has dropped by 12%; consumer spending on food has increased by 3.5%; and the average UK household chucks out £480’s worth of food annually, 61% of which is avoidable.

Bone-idleness aside, this is why I don’t do much research, because the results are generally terribly boring (see above). We have a Ministry of Sums to do statistics for us. Not proper journalists.

But let’s go with it, because now more than ever this is a Really Big Issue and wherever these figures came from, we know what the situation is and it’s bloody scary. Thoughtlessly hurling food in the bin is an utterly heinous thing to do, whether you can afford it or not. We all know that the cost of eating has risen scarily over the last few years, the reasons being too numerous to discuss in the 150 odd words I have left today. As a species, we simply cannot ignore the impact that the desire to fill our bellies is having on our tremulous little planet, and all who live on it.

By unnecessarily wasting food, we’re waving two fingers at so much. And it’s odd because most of us are either of - or only a hop, skip and a jump away from – a time when food was respected and cherished. If this is some sort of a backlash, then we need to stop it.

Food retailers deploy use by dates to cover their backs, not to save our guts. Use your nose and taste buds, and your common sense. Buy only what you need and get inventive in the kitchen.

In this topsy-turvy world there are many things that we can’t control, but not filling up wheelie bins with perfectly good scoff is one that we can. There’s no time to waste.

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