Food Waste: Infographic

How ingenuity will feed the world.

  • Katza

    I blame the food companies for such a disgusting amount of waste. I believe they love public confusion over the expiry & best before dates. It all comes down to money, and they want more of our hard earned dollars! Too many people think that the “best before” date means you’ll risk food poisoning if you consume the food after the date stamped on the package! So, what do people do when they have food that’s past that date? They don’t want to get sick, so they throw it out and buy more! Millions of dollars more into the food companies pockets, leaving our pockets empty. The truth is, the best before date means exactly that, it is “best” before that date but it is not bad! It’s still good far past that date. In some cases, depending on the type of food, it can be consumed weeks or even months past that date! The same goes for the “sell by” date. Which is the date the store needs to sell it by so the customer has time to consume it before it expires. How many people not knowing this has thrown out perfectly good food? Then there’s the expiry date. If it expires on the 1st, that doesn’t mean that it magically goes bad exactly at that time and cannot be eaten past the 2nd or 3rd!. Depending on the food, you can go past the expiry date too. Some foods can go a little past & others can go a lot past. I would never risk going past the date on shellfish, raw meat, or mayonnaise based products, but processed foods are so full of preservatives, it’s safe to go well past those dates. Some companies go so far as to put ‘codes’ on their packaging rather than an actual date! This of course works perfectly in their favour. Rather than guessing if the food is good or bad, most people throw it out and buy more. Others put proper dates on but in a very hard to find spot and either so small even someone with perfect eyesight has a hard time seeing it or print the date the same colour as the packaging so it blends in and is very difficult to see! With so many starving people in this world, how can these companies stomach knowing so much of this waste could be avoided!!
    Just my opinion!

    • quiller

      Individual responsibility is very often the problem. We need to plan our shopping and not be tempted by the offers – 3 items for the price of 2. Stick to vegetables and fruit which should be 80% of the routine budget. If there is a bargain on chicken or fish – change the menu at home for that day’s evening meal or the next day. Don’t shove it to the back of the fridge. If you live near or pass by a supermarket on the way home from work – there is no point in storing quantities of chicken, meat, etc in your freezer and clearing the shelves for the supermarket. It costs you money in electricity to store their food and increases the chance of hitting an expiry date.. The food with the most recent expiry date will be up front on the shelf – if you look to the back, that’s the milk and other products that will have the longest shelf life. Don’t buy more than you need if you are retired – you have the time to exercise by walking back and getting something you have run out of or forgotten. We stopped buying what was not on our list !

      • Charlie

        what a joke of a comment. you’re blaming 7billlion people instead of say, 1,000? if 7billion people (I realize it’s more like 2billion) are making the same mistakes surely it’s not individual responsibility. all you’re doing is commenting on our diet not our consumption and waste. you’re actually asking the entire world to change its habits instead of just the producers?

        • quiller

          No Jokes ! I am not blaming 1, 2, 3, 4 or 7 billion people. If a person plans their shopping – they do not over buy and create a situation where they potentially may waste. I am not blaming anyone – I am just saying people have to change their eating habits. The world would not be able to support 7 billion people on a meat focused diet.

    • Kuklapolitan

      To blame manufacturers for this kind of buyer confusion is ludicrous. Why don’t you take a bit of personal responsibility for your own choices. Sell by, Use By and Best by are three completely different things and instead of THINKING about the differences or finding out about these things that cause you to throw food away unnecessarily, people blame everyone else out there and most of the time, you’re blaming those you shouldn’t blame. It’s ALL YOU and no one else! First off LOOK at the dates and STOP buying foods you’re not going to consume as readily as you might or buy them in smaller quantities. Best By only means it remains at optimum flavor any time up to that date! Sell By only means the store must sell the product by that date to ensure freshness. Use By is a “Round-About” date to tell you to be aware that, at this point, this food may spoil near that date! It could be before and it could be after. Nothing is absolute! Think about the food itself and how long it spends on a counter top or table as opposed to being in the fridge and kept cold! My God…THINK! Food is bad when it has a foul or rancid odor, or when it has mold on it (NOT CHEESE) or starts to turn a different color! Mayonnaise??? I’ve had Mayo and other condiments in the fridge for months and YEARS with no problem! Manufacturers MUST label all foods whether they require it or not and whether the foods are refrigerated or not. It’s awful, really. Canned foods don’t need those dates. Unless a can bulges out it’s fine! Damaged cans are never a great bet since a hairline rupture or crack in a seam may hasten its demise. Only use dented and often reduced priced items like that if you’re going to consume them right away. In 68 years I’ve never had an off moment from any food I’ve consumed and I rarely, unless I’ve overbought, have had to discard anything!

      • Katza

        Where in my comment did I say that “I” had a problem with wasting food or not knowing the difference between best buy or expired dates! I know how to read dates, (you copied everything I said about dates & what they mean, so either I’m smarter than you gave me credit for or you are not as smart as you think you are!) and I know how to shop for groceries, thank you very much!! Perhaps YOU should think before YOU criticize someone else! I was merely pointing out that there are many people that don’t know the difference between best by or expired dates etc! Manufacturers absolutely want people to waste so they can sell more. If you’ve never had food poisoning you are very lucky because every food expert will tell you that you CANNOT tell the difference between rancid or fine to eat foods by merely smelling it!!! Many times food can look & smell perfectly fine but still be rancid! Canned foods DO NOT have an indefinite shelf life! You should never give advice on this topic since you clearly have no idea what you are talking about!

        • Charlie

          Katza I love your comments :) these guys on here are much more superior to the rest of us so we should just let them run the food industry

      • Charlie

        you’re worse than Quiller. I’m really glad you told us your age, you’re clearly just a bitter old Baby Boomer who knows everything. you’re so special!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you don’t even make sense “Canned foods don’t need those dates. Unless a can bulges out it’s fine! Damaged cans are never a great bet since a hairline rupture or crack in a seam may hasten its demise.” you literally said a can is fine unless it bulges and then said a crack may haste its demise. so smart!
        but anyway, you’re asking an entire world of consumers to change our habits? the companies clearly love to confuse us to make more money. you’re saying all this shit about food being obviously fouled. of course mold is bad. it’s not about the stuff that is already bad. it’s the questionable times when the dates don’t make sense or are confusing codes. it’s even worse in the UK where food goes bad the next day.

        you literally said “ITS ALL YOU AND NO ONE ELSE” it’s all 7billion people and no one else? how does that make sense????????????

        I really hate old farts like you who think because you have a degree or good job or whatever the hell makes you so important, you can talk to people as if they’re beneath you. think? OH RIGHT! that’s it! I need to think! I’ve NEVER done that ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        PS you literally said it in the first line. “buyer confusion”. there should be no such thing as buyer confusion. it should be clear and obvious. and clearly there is LOTS of buyer confusion as this is an epidemic. buyer confusion means the manufacturer has failed.

        • Vidikron

          Good grief. Get over yourself. What do you want the dates to say? The common dates are fairly self explanatory if people would think about them. Also, it’s hardly some grand scheme to make you buy more. They put those dates on there for food safety and brand perception reasons. The use by dates are there for food safety reason. Once a product is out of the producers hands the conditions is may be exposed to are going to vary GREATLY. Everything from shipping, to the retail outlet, to how it is handled at home can affect how quickly it goes bad. So the dates are set conservatively for safety reasons, not to make you buy more often.

          Use by dates are often based on the overall quality of the food. Again, how product is handled after it is sold can’t be controlled by the producer. So they set a conservative date that will cover most reasonable conditions where the food will still be at near peak quality. The put the date on there so that if someone consumes a product that doesn’t meet their expectation they have a date to refer to to know if the producer recommended earlier consumption. For example, have you ever drank a soda that was months out of date? I have. They often take on this strange dusty like taste. Without the use by date a consumer might think the product just tastes like that and develop an unfair negative impression of the product. Again, this isn’t some scheme to just make you buy more.

          Sell by dates are set for similar reasons as those above. In short, they are set to make sure the consumer has a reasonable amount of time with the product at home before it goes bad. I do think Sell By dates are largely unecessary and probably the most prone to confusion. They should probably just be replaced with one of the other two options. But they aren’t THAT confusing nor are they some scheme.

          So, again, since you seem to think you know best, what method should they be using?

  • Jilly

    In my day… yes I am that old… we consumed food or beverage until it smelt funny or tasted bad…the we would throw it way. There were no dates, we had less waste.We all survived.. Use your own judgement, if it smells OK, tastes OK, and it isn’t’ fuzzy go for it.

  • Kaedyn Wessel

    Actually, even the “use by date” is also the manufacturers’ best guesstimate of when the food will be freshest and doesn’t necessarily need to be discarded. Reference- MSNBC documentary JUST EAT IT- A FOOD WASTE STORY.

  • Fairy Tail

    People need to waste less! A couple million people are starving and here are thousands of untouched items in the trash!! Especially at schools! The cans are full in like two minutes, untouched apples. Cookies with one bite… this is crazy!

Top