Will fixing portions served at hotels curb food wastage?Facts and figures
- According to the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation’s report globally, one-third of the food produced is wasted costing the world economy about $750 billion (more than Rs 47 lakh crore).
- Asian countries, specifically India and China, are the worst perpetrators in this cause causing wastage of 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year.
- According to UN report on food waste and its impact on natural resources, India is far ahead of China in terms of food wastage.
- Every year the highest amount of food wastage goes to agriculture which amount of wastage of Rs 58,000 crore, which is 40% of the total harvest every year.
- 70% of the fruit and vegetables produced each year go into wastage.
Taking into account the above disturbing statistics of a country where a large proportion of the poor population goes to sleep every night without a meal, PM Mod has called for an initiative that will require cutting portions in restaurants. This means that if a person orders chicken or prawn, he can cut on the portion and money that he pays for the meal.
Restaurants waste food too, agreed. But will that will be enough to curb food wastage in a country which ranks first in terms of food wastage?Yes1. Serving more than needed
A single person is not capable of eating full servings of three different courses that he orders at a fine dine restaurant. He will nevertheless order them all to make a good impression on those accompanying him or to just to keep it elegant. He leaves half of each untouched and those go into waste. This can be prevented if there is portion and cost cutting at the same time.2. Re-using
Most restaurants are known to re-use the leftovers next day which is not always hygienic. They either harm the health or are thrown off, if unusable. This can be prevented by portion control, where they would serve only what is consumable by a single person.No1. Most restaurants do not waste
Standard restaurants in India have already started following the system of donating leftovers to the poor. Customers are also known to get the leftovers packed and given off to the beggars. This measure would do nothing to prevent wastage.2. You cannot dictate the portions
Some people eat more than the others. The government should have no say in how much food a person can order at a restaurant. Controlling portions is not the job of the government. Moreover, this would not prevent any wastage as most Indians know how much they can eat.3. The greater wastage
The greatest part of wastage happens over transport of produce, ill-storage facilities and price control of fruits and vegetables. When the greatest of waste is left unanswered, controlling portions of meals at standard restaurant is not going to help in preventing wastage.
The real wastage of food happens at the weddings and other such events where people just throw away the plates full of food in the trash. If this can be controlled, it can really plug in the right hole
which leads to food watage.4. Addressing the real issues
What government needs to do is address the main issue of cold storage and other storage and transport means for the food produce to avoid wastage. Food wastage at restaurants amounts to a very negligible portion of the total food wastage ration in India.
This step although well meaning would not help much in curbing wastage, unless due importance is laid on food storage facilities and proper transport facility to perishable food products.