The top source of food wastage in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is left over or discarded food in a restaurant (32%), followed by extra food cooked for celebrations that gets thrown away (30%), indicates a recent YouGov study.
“The findings of this survey come in handy as we are celebrating the month of Ramadan during which – along with other celebrations – extra food is thought to be cooked and end up in the bin, while the main source of food wastage is blamed on restaurants where leftover food is discarded (32%),” says Lara Al Barazi, research director, YouGov MENA.
To add to the seriousness of the issue, many foods get discarded due to malinterpretation of ‘best before’. Fresh meat (72%), fruits or vegetables (68%), baby foods (68%) and dairy (66%) are the top foods discarded based on best before rather than expiry dates. This raises the importance of educating people about the difference of the two notions, which eventually would result in less food being wasted.
“Of the many ways to address this food wastage is the idea of food bank to donate unused, safe-to-consume food items (according to 58% of respondents) which chimes well with the UAE agenda of setting up a food bank,” Al Barazi observes.
“All in all, the data serves as a wake-up call to people and an opportunity to various parties and organisations to run education campaigns in order to prevent this wastage when many countries around the world suffer of hunger,” she concludes.