The reduction of food waste is a challenge that concerns everybody. Food waste hold serious consequences that can be detrimental to the planet. It is affecting the environment, the economy and is also considered to be a social issue that affects human health. Food waste reduction emphases on preventing food waste from being created in the first place.
Despite the fact that food availability is crucial for the survival of human beings, a lot of consumable food is being wasted along the food supply chain. Many people do not realize that the food they throw away can be reused or recycled. It is believed that globally approximately one-third of food production for human consumption is either lost or wasted, which accounts for a total of 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year. (Gustavsson et al., 2011).
A huge quantity of food that is produced are wasted along the distribution chain or by consumers. During its production and distribution, food requires large amounts of energy and other resources. Thus, if food is being wasted, it represents a wastage of the world’s limited resources and it also leads to an unnecessary environmental impact. Handling of wastes from both food and its packaging also have an impact on the environment, which has to be accounted for. Moreover, since a large part of the world’s population is starving, food waste is considered to have also an important ethical dimension. Owing to these consequences there is a need to reduce food waste. Reducing the amount of food waste will not only sustain world’s limited resources but will secure enough food to all humans.
Food waste happens mostly at households, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. For instance, domestic food waste arises during food purchasing and once food enters the home. To reduce this burden, some countries have set regulation to force food suppliers and consumers to take preventive actions. France, for example, has introduced taxation on wasted food at supermarkets whereas Italy has offered tax breaks on supermarkets donating surplus food to charities. Throughout the years many companies and organizations are moving forward to tackle the problem of food wastage by engaging themselves in food reduction strategies. Such organizations include NGOs, political organizations, voluntary associations among others.
Nonetheless, due to lack of knowledge on food planning or donation regulation, edible food is still often thrown away. This paper contributes to the understanding of managing food waste reduction. The focus area refers to the different ways use for food waste reduction. For example, approaches like, food donation, food sharing, coupon promotion for food near expiring date, or even food composting. Based on the literature findings, we will propose approaches on how to improve the processes to reduce food waste.
Le DefiMedia Group (2017) reported that Mauritius should be self-sufficient towards food wastage. For instance, a citizen of Mauritius voice out that people should concentrate more on bio farming and that more land should be provided for food production. Also, more program by the Government and by Non-Governmental organization (NGO) should be set up. Another person points out that people should be educated about food security and neglect the fact that Mauritius rely on foreign countries for food production. Moreover, another one believes that there should be an integrated policy framework to help new farming techniques, to have access to better quality seeds at a convenient price and to charge less on fertilizers. Equally, the later encourages home gardening especially for youngsters facing the issue of unemployment.
During the past few years, numerous efforts are being done to deal with wastage of food. The country has a Non-Governmental organization (NGO) in the name of “manzer partazer” which is believed to be the first recognized food sharing project in Mauritius. The NGO collect food that would have been wasted such as remaining food in hotels and restaurants. It also collects surplus food from caterers, supermarkets and bakeries. These foods are then donated to people in need (local NGO’s, community centers, orphanages, retired houses, community schools). The organization does not demand any cost at all be it from the receivers or donors. The food is collected by the organization using its own means of transportation, again without any charge. The NGO even take the aspect of safety and health into great consideration. Food is transported to beneficiaries in hygienically sealed containers immediately after having it collected. All the volunteers involved are holders of a food handler certificate (Manzer Partazer, 2015).
Further to that, the University of Mauritius has taken an initiative “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Recovery” under the faculty of Agriculture, to make people aware, especially stakeholders of the effects of food waste and its reduction measures. The awareness campaign is extended over one year-February 2018 to March 2019.
Anyone can play a part in reducing food waste. Small changes in habits that require minimal effort can save money, help the environment, and put stop to excessive food waste. In order to reduce food waste, managing food waste reduction should be of prime concern to all citizens of Mauritius.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Food waste has been receiving a growing attention during the past decades (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015). While some countries are suffering from undernourishment and food shortages, there are enormous quantities of food being lost and wasted at the same time in other countries. According to World Hunger (2016), it is believed that about 795 million people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment.
Furthermore, it is estimated that the Carbon Footprint that is left by food wastage is around 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 released in the atmosphere per year (FAO 2013). And the overall water wasted in the production of the food that is lost or wasted is estimated to be 250km3. The figures mentioned has given a greater understanding of the extent of the impact that food wastage has globally. The consequences will further complicate ethical, economic and environmental issues if nothing is done to reduce food wastage.
However, many people find it hard to cut down the amount of food being wasted. Holweg et al., (2010) discuss that some retailers avoid the idea of donating surplus food to charitable organization because they do not want society to know how much food surplus they have. Another reason is because they do not want to have any additional cost. Retailers usually do not collect food that are of lower quality because they will not derive profit. By doing this they allow wastage of food instead of implementing measures to reduce food waste.
Even though most supermarkets have a system that control their stock, it is unsuccessful in notifying supermarket about a product that will soon expire. Hence, products that exceed their best before date are thrown in the bin without having an opportunity to be sold at a lower/discounted price (Capodistrias, 2017). Also, supermarket’s staff face the problem of over-ordering and does not carry out quality checks in the proper manner which eventually leads to more food wastage. Moreover, if staff fails to maintain the correct temperature especially, at the storage stage there will be more food that would result into waste (Daryanto and Sahara, 2016).
Food waste at household level contribute an enormous amount of waste in the environment. Even if there are varying ways of reducing waste at home including home composting, feeding food to pets or animals, the amount of food waste being discarded by householders are incredibly high. In fact, younger working people aged 16 to 34 and families with school age children are categorized as high food wasters (WRAP, 2007).
Last but not the least, according to Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), those who operate restaurants does not take food waste management to be their duty. They are not encouraged to be environmentally sustainable (WRAP, 2013). For example, restaurants in California are held liable if ever the food receiver is injured. Hence, there is fear for restaurant to donate food (State of California, 1996). Restaurants in California also face the problem of transportation and storage, thus deny the idea of donating food (FWRA, 2016) This led to an increase in food wastage.
1.3 AIM AND OBJESCTIVES
The very purpose of this study is to assess the need of food waste reduction in Mauritius.
• To identify the different types of food waste generated with its impact in Mauritius.
• To investigate the different methods used to reduce food waste in Mauritius.
• To recommend proper food waste reduction strategies to minimize food waste impact.
• To understand the need of food waste reduction.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
• What is food waste?
• What are the different types of food waste generated?
• How food waste is normally disposed?
• What are the impacts associated with food waste?
• Why do we need to reduce food waste?
• What are the different methods adopted to reduce food waste?
• What is the difficulties face during the reduction of food waste?
• How to manage food waste reduction barrier?
• What are the different laws adopted to reduce food waste?
• What are the recommendations to improve food waste management?
1.5 RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
Food waste reduction is intended to mainly protect the health of human beings, enhance the environment and reduce the economic cost of a country. It is important to reduce food waste for food security purposes and to alleviate the economic cost. Reducing food waste implies less environmental impact (Beretta et al., 2013). If food waste is not reduced it will lay a heavy burden on the planet. There will be an extinction of valuable resources such as energy, water, land and labor. Moreover, everyone needs food, thus in order to reduce the amount of food being wasted, every human being and organizations has a part to play including household, supermarket, retailers, manufacturers and others in implementing waste management programs. By reducing food waste, we can reduce poverty around the world and satisfy the hunger of needy people. According to some estimates, 870 million of hungry people worldwide would have food to eat if one-fourth of the food that is wasted is saved (FAO, 2018). As stated by the environment reports on food matters: “The total cropland used to grow food that is never eaten almost equals all cropland in Africa.”, thus it is fundamental to reduce the amount of food waste generated.
CHAPTER 2.0: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 OVERVIEW OF FOOD WASTE
Food loss and food waste are terms that are often used interchangeably and ground in legal jurisdictions but in terms of origin and scope are quite different. “Food losses” refers to food that “spills, spoils, incurs an abnormal reduction in quality such as bruising or wilting, or otherwise gets lost before it reaches the consumer” (Lipinski et al.,2013). According to Gustavsson et al., (2011) such losses are often a result from poor infrastructure and deficient technology, packaging, transportation and refrigeration. Whereas, “food waste” refers to “food that is of good quality and fit for human consumption but that does not get consumed because it is discarded, either before or after it spoils” (Lipinski et al.,2013). Food waste can either be the result of a conscious or negligence decision to throw food away.
There are several reasons for food waste to arise. Some reasons can be high aesthetic requirements especially for fruit and vegetables, the incongruity of supply and demand between retailers and consumers, and the physical and cognitive distance between production and consumption. An example of food loss and food waste can be; harvested bananas that fall off a truck while being transported are considered as food loss, while brown-spotted bananas thrown away at a grocery shop or at home due to their color are considered as food waste (FAO, 2017b). Thus, it is believed that together, food losses and food waste are referred as food wastage.