Finally, thanks to the internet we are becoming aware of just how much food is being wasted on a regular basis. Supermarkets are throwing out astronomical amounts of unsold food that is actually perfectly fine to eat. When the amount of homeless people who don’t always have access to food, and the many families that are struggling every day to put food on the table to feed their children, is this really the option that we have come up with? To simply throw the food in the garbage because it cannot turn a profit?
In the U.S. alone, $165 Billion is wasted on food every. Single. Year. When the UN estimates that solving the world’s hunger problem would cost a measly $30 billion in comparison, we can clearly see that something is very wrong here. The unsold food from the supermarkets might not be the answer to solving world hunger, but it certainly paints a picture of where our priorities are, and at least shows us that this has to change. Two men were arrested in the United States in 2016 for taking this food and trying to feed the hungry.
Thankfully, as awareness towards this issue continues to be raised we are seeing a number of groups organizations and even countries doing something about it. France has made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away unsold food, forcing them to find other, more beneficial options for their perfectly fine food. Others are taking that food that would otherwise be garbage and feeding the hungry.
World renowned chef, Mossimo Bottura, for example has opened up a 5 star restaurant called Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, Italy in 2015 that accepts donations of unsold food from supermarkets and utilizes volunteer work from professional chefs who want to donate their time to help feed the poor and hungry. Why should the homeless people only be fed soup when there is so much more food available that would otherwise be thrown out? These chefs prepare gourmet meals and the guests are served rather than having to wait in line. Bottura says this is as much about treating those less fortunate with dignity as it is about feeding them. Check it out!
Refettorio Ambrosiano has served more than 16,000 meals, and saved 25 tons of food surplus from the landfills. As Bottura says, this is a revolutionary idea! Hopefully other chefs and restaurateurs will be inspired to follow suit and encourage their local supermarkets to donate to initiatives such as these.
Check out Bottura’s book of recipes Il Pane E Oro, here, and donate to this cause to end food waste and feed the hungry.